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Study shows sustainability benefits, including broad curbside recycling acceptance, versus the unrecyclable, multimaterial paper-based canister.

PlasticsToday Staff

June 18, 2020

2 Min Read
PET SmartCAN Canister Versus the Composite Can: Plastic Wins

Plastic container manufacturer Ring Container Technologies, Oakland, TN, reports its 100% recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) SmartCAN has gained broad acceptance in curbside recycling programs across the country.

That contrasts with paper-based composite canisters, which are often used for snack foods. Consumers often assume they are recyclable, but they are neither recyclable nor accepted curbside but are diverted to landfills as a contaminate.

Unlike traditional multimaterial canisters that often contain paper, SmartCAN is comprised of just a single material, PET, which is readily recycled and reprocessed.  It easily can incorporate post-consumer resin (PCR) — reducing the need to create new material from fossil feedstock.

Ring Container Technologies engaged Three Peaks Consulting, a third-party sustainability consulting firm based in Boise, ID, to conduct a study on two different food containers: A paper-based composite canister and the monolayer SmartCAN container, to objectively assess the collection and recycling pathway. The study reinforced the sustainability benefits of SmartCAN.2020-06-18-Ring_Container_SmartCAN_3.jpg

Input from recycling managers in 12 cities

Three Peaks Consulting engaged with recycling managers in 12 large cities across the US including Memphis, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, to assess collection of both the composite canister and the SmartCAN container. Curbside collection is the most effective and efficient means of collecting post-consumer material.

Many curbside recycling programs accept a broad array of materials, which can prove confusing for consumers, who may feel a false sense of satisfaction when filling their curbside bin. They’d be surprised to learn that many canisters are diverted to landfills or a waste-to-energy incinerators. The results showed that SmartCAN is readily accepted in the responding cities' recycling programs. The full white paper and findings of the Three Peaks Consulting study can be read here.

In addition, SmartCAN follows Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines for use of a "Widely Recycled" How2Recycle label, a standardized labeling system that clearly communicates recycling instructions to the public. The approved label is based on compatibility with the entire recycling process, including acceptance in collection programs and sortation, reprocessing and end-market demand.

"Sustainability is deeply ingrained in our company culture, and SmartCAN is 100 percent recyclable," says Tim Ferrel, Vice President of Business Development at Ring Container Technologies. "We want our food manufacturing customers and the public at large to understand that it's both technologically possible and economically viable to produce plastic products that are completely recyclable, made from post-consumer resin, and are as clear and strong as containers made from virgin materials. As more companies set their recycled-content goals to meet environmental sustainability initiatives, the demand for post-use PET material will continue to grow, and Ring will be at the forefront of that."

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