An all-polyethylene (PE) pouch from Milwaukee-based packaging producer Glenroy can now be recycled via Trex’s NexTrex Recycling Program, which focuses on sourcing, collecting, and qualifying PE film for use in making Trex plastic/wood composite decking and railing.
Glenroy’s TruRenu stand-up pouch has passed the first of three testing stages required to qualify for the NexTrex label, meaning the pouch meets Trex’s general recycling standards and is made of PE. Trex rolled out its NexTrex package labeling initiative in April 2021.
The final determination of a package’s acceptability for the NexTrex certified label depends on what’s in the pack, as demonstrated by Walex Products. Walex, one of Glenroy’s first customers for TruRenu packaging, has qualified for the NexTrex label and displays it on its packaging. The Walex pouch has also qualified for the How2Recycle Store-Drop Off recycling program.
Walex uses the TruRenu pouch for biodegradable septic tank treatment pods, which would not contaminate the recycling stream. According to Glenroy, Walex’s recently introduced package is the first-ever store drop-off recyclable stand-up pouch in its industry.
“Qualifying for the NexTrex program adds both perceived and tangible value to our flexible packaging that our brand partners can then pass on to consumers,” said Evan Arnold, vice president of business development for Glenroy, in a prepared statement. “We are confident that this affiliation and certification will drive consumer participation in recycling and have a positive impact on reducing plastic waste — one pouch at a time.”
To qualify for the certified NexTrex label, package designers, producers, and/or brand owners first send Trex a packaged product sample. Trex performs testing and provides the applicant with a comprehensive report assessing three areas: package/film recyclability, affect or risk of product contamination, and affect or risk of nonrecyclable look-alike package contamination.
Look-alikes are packages that looks like polyethylene but are not. To avoid this contamination risk, at least 75% of competitive packaging in the NexTrex label applicant’s market must also be made of PE, to avoid consumer confusion between recyclable and nonrecyclable packaging.
If the package meets Trex’s standards for upcycling into new composite products, Trex issues a Certification of Acceptance to the brand owner, which is then authorized to use the NexTrex Recycled Packaging Label on-pack.
“Highlighting NexTrex certification on product packaging allows brands to inform consumers about how to easily and responsibly dispose of packaging material, while also promoting their commitment to sustainability,” said Dave Heglas, senior director of supply chain excellence for Trex. “With the NexTrex label, consumers know exactly where their recycled plastic is headed and that it will one day find new life as a beautiful Trex deck.”