STOPPING THE WASTE AND
CLOSING THE LOOP
Lightweight plastic provides growing populations around the world with greater access to fresh foods, safe drinking water, and medicines. It dramatically reduces food spoilage and waste while also providing hygienic materials for the health care industry. That translates directly into approximately 4 times lower environmental cost in the supply chain plus a better, more affordable, and healthier quality of life for billions of people.
But, at the same time, we are facing an unacceptable consequence: Too much plastic is lost to waste and is entering our oceans, clogging up our rivers, and polluting our natural environment. This cannot continue.
Dow is making bold commitments to both stop the waste and close the loop in plastics, including:
- Enabling 1 million tons of plastic to be collected, reused, or recycled through our direct actions and partnership by 2030.
- By 2035, we will “close the loop” by making 100 percent of Dow products sold into packaging applications reusable or recyclable.
Explore below to find examples of how Dow is taking action.
Advancing recycling technologies to help the world recycle more
Advancing recycling technologies
to help the world recycle more
Advanced recycling technologies are critical to achieve a more significant impact to addressing the global plastic waste issue, and thus needs to be developed in concert with mechanical recycling to deliver a holistic set of solutions for society. Multiple technology options exist.
Dow has announced a partnership in Europe with Fuenix Ecogy Group for the supply of a new feedstock made from plastic waste, to produce new Dow polymers. The process breaks down mixed waste plastics into their original form to manufacture virgin polymers. The polymers produced will be identical to products from traditional feedstocks and can be used in the same applications.Learn More
Creating plastics from recycled feedstocks
Creating plastics from
Dow in partnership with UPM Biofuels, a producer of advanced biofuels, announced the commercialization of a plastics offering for the packaging industry made from a bio-based renewable feedstock. Dow is integrating wood-based UPM BioVerno renewable naphtha – a key raw material used to develop plastics – into its slate of raw materials, creating an alternative source for plastics production. Dow is using this feedstock to produce bio-based polyethylene (PE) at its production facility in Terneuzen, The Netherlands, for use in packaging applications such as food packaging to reduce food waste.
UPM BioVerno naphtha is produced at UPM’s biorefinery in Lappeenranta, Finland, from crude tall oil, which is a residue of paper pulp production. Unlike many other alternative renewable feedstocks, no extra land is required for the feedstock production. The feedstock originates from sustainably managed forests.
This process also significantly reduces CO2 emissions, especially by carbon sequestration, compared to standard fossil-derived PE resins, and the plastics produced can help brand owners meet their sustainability packaging goals. The entire supply chain is International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) certified, based on mass balance approach, meaning all steps meet traceability criteria.Learn More
Transforming waste management systems around the globe and creating more recycled materials
Transforming waste management
systems around the globe and
creating more recycled materials
Funded by Dow, Recycling for a Change enables Boomera and the NGO Fundación Avina to bring improved training, equipment, administration, and professionalism to cooperatives and workers. Within months of launching the program in Brazil’s largest waste producer, São Paulo, productivity climbed to 70%, sales increased by 50%, and average monthly salaries rose above minimum wage.
The five cooperatives selected to test the program employ 214 workers but touch at least 450 more dependent family members. As cooperatives professionalize, workers experience a new sense of dignity and pride in the role they play within the larger waste management chain. Armed with this new mindset, they view their job as a career with real social value.
The initiative also creates a better-quality supply for production of post-consumer plastic resin. This provides a new, bigger sales stream for cooperatives and connects to a circular economy model in which plastic waste is recycled and reused, over and over, never reaching the environment.Learn More
Tackling waste through education, collaboration, and hands-on action
Tackling waste through education,
collaboration, and hands-on action
A stagnant river clogged with trash. Air choked with toxic fumes from burning waste. Contaminated drinking water. Disease spreading through communities. Nairobi’s exponential growth and lack of waste infrastructure in struggling neighborhoods is poisoning people, the environment, and spiraling out of control.
Dow’s Project Butterfly initiative in Africa unites residents, NGOs, government agencies, educators, community leaders, and manufacturers in unique partnerships to combat the crisis. By forging these crucial collaborations, the effort helps bridge the gap between recycling buy-back centers, sorting facilitators, collectors, and recyclers. Often, it provides the first opportunity for residents to harvest waste and use it to generate wealth by collecting, sorting, and selling it to recycling organizations where it will be repurposed in a circular, renewable loop.Learn More
Turning waste into value where it’s needed most
Turning waste into value
where it’s needed most
Indonesia generates the second most plastic waste that ends up in the environment. Currently, less than half of all waste in Indonesia is collected, which results in too much trash and debris in the ocean.
MASARO, which is Indonesian for “zero waste,” is an innovative system that combines multiple technologies to create a closed-loop, circular economy.
Working with Dow, MASARO’s pilot program in Babakan, Indonesia, combines educational outreach along with waste management infrastructure to create a circular system. Together, we’re turning waste into valuable end-products like fertilizer, fuel and energy to be used by the community. This pilot will be scaled to more communities throughout the country.Learn More
Transforming waste into value
Transforming waste into value
In 2018, the Public-Private Partnership for Plastics was launched to help the Thai government achieve their environmental goals with resources and funding from Dow and other leading companies in Thailand such as SCG and PTT Global Chemical. Through workshops on how to segregate each type of plastic and a successful network of local authorities, communities, and recycling businesses, Wangwa families developed a new mindset - plastic is too valuable to waste. By 2019, plastic waste sent to landfills was down 20% and the program aims to lower it to zero by 2022.Learn More
Creating consumer-friendly, recyclable packaging for your favorite products
Creating consumer-friendly, recyclable
packaging for your favorite products
Dow helped Kellogg’s granola brand Bear Naked introduce the first fully-recyclable stand-up barrier pouch for food in the United States. The new granola packaging that’s been rolled out across product lines is made from plastic film that consumers can drop off at 18,000 retail locations nationwide for recycling.
By using Dow’s portfolio of resins, adhesives, and compatibilizers, packaging manufacturers can produce sustainable, recyclable packaging – a way to create flexible packaging that can be easily recycled through existing polyethylene (PE) film recycle streams, such as grocery store drop-off programs in the United States and Canada. And even better, these packages qualify for the How2Recycle logo.Learn More
Collaboration to deliver circular solutions
deliver circular solutions
Houston-based waste-optimization specialist Avangard Innovative LP (AI) collaborated with Dow to expand the company’s plastic circularity portfolio and to minimize waste in the environment. This collaboration combines AI's waste collection and sortation technology with Dow's materials science expertise, application expertise and operational scale to bring consistent processing, reliable supply of post-consumer resin innovations to customers throughout North America.
Delivering circular economy solutions is a key component of Dow's sustainability strategy. By collaborating with AI, the two companies together are driving efforts that ensure the value of plastics is not lost after only one material use.Learn More
Convening and driving key partnerships to help end plastic waste
Convening and driving key partnerships
to help end plastic waste
Dow is helping bring together customers, brand owners, governments, waste management companies, and environmental organizations – to collaborate toward solutions to this critical challenge.
The Alliance to End Plastic Waste includes approximately 50 companies pledging $1.5 billion to develop and scale solutions that manage plastic waste and promote post-use solutions of plastic.Learn More
Helping stop the waste by keeping hard-to-recycle plastic out of the environment
Helping stop the waste by
keeping hard-to-recycle plastic
out of the environment
Dow initiated the “EnergyBag” pilot program in 2014. Today, in partnership with Reynolds Consumer Products, owners of the Hefty brand, the Hefty® EnergyBag® recovery program has successfully expanded.
This program collects hard-to-recycle plastics from consumers at their curbsides and converts them into valuable resources, including energy, fuels, and other feedstocks.Learn More
Leading by doing: cleaning up existing waste
Leading by doing:
cleaning up existing waste
Four pounds of waste per person. That’s the global average we produce every day. It’s the target weight we want to offset with our litter clean-up effort – #PullingOurWeight.
In 2019, 18,000 volunteers came together to participate in 175 clean-ups to collect over 175,000 pounds of waste. Clean-up events were large and small, with family, friends, customers, and suppliers working side-by-side with employees to clean-up a beach, a park, a nature preserve, a river, or a lake. International signature clean-ups were held in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Nariobi Kenya; and Rayong Thailand - with hundreds of volunteers in attendance.Learn More
Innovating new applications where recycled plastics can be valuable materials
Innovating new applications
where recycled plastics can
be valuable materials
Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, Latin America – these regions face different challenges. One thing they have in common? Infrastructure can be improved. That’s why Dow is working with partners around the world to make polymer-modified asphalt roads with recycled plastic.
Roads built from recycled plastic are often more resistant to corrosion and can reduce potholes and traffic jams. Additionally, tons of plastic is being diverted from landfills for the projects. And this is just the start; with our partners, we’re working toward safer, more sustainable roads.Learn More