LOS ANGELES – Rehrig Pacific, an LA-based manufacturing and solutions company, has partnered with innovators around the globe to engineer a way to incorporate ocean-recovered and ocean-bound plastics into new products without compromising strength or appearance. Later this year, a major U.S. city will debut a new line of residential recycling carts made from a groundbreaking percentage of post-consumer recycled material, including recycled ocean-bound plastics.
“What we’re achieving here is a model for solving sustainability solutions around the world,” said Jeff Hentges, SVP of Operations. “These aren’t Rehrig Pacific’s solutions alone — we’re coordinating with incredible people around the globe, from Patagonian coastal fishermen to engineers in LA, to government leaders across the country. Everybody has a role to play, and we’re all pulling together to make it happen.”
Ocean plastic is a growing global problem, in part because it’s very difficult to segregate materials into their constituent parts. The types of plastics that end up in oceans vary greatly, and the composition of the specific plastics used in nautical applications is intentionally designed to be resilient, making it challenging to turn into a usable recyclate. Even once that recyclate is generated, it is often tough to work with and presents unique production challenges. Rehrig Pacific has spent over a year working with the Atando Cabos project in Chile to find innovative solutions to overcome those challenges.
In addition to its groundbreaking work with recovered ocean plastics, Rehrig Pacific has simultaneously developed innovative new solutions in diverting and utilizing ocean-bound plastics. One example is the OceanCore recycling cart, which is set to roll out in 2021 in major cities around the country. The OceanCore cart is the result of Rehrig Pacific’s unique manufacturing expertise: The company has developed a first-of-its-kind process that allows it to combine virgin plastic with unmatched volumes of recycled material. The result is a product that contains more recycled material than previously thought possible, without compromising the structural integrity or appearance of the final product.
“The challenge of recycling is that you still have to build a product that works — a product that customers will buy,” said Hentges. “Otherwise, you’re just adding to the problem. If you build something that’s made from recycled material, but it lasts half as long and ends up getting discarded more quickly, you might have a good marketing ploy but not a real solution. Rehrig is driven to find solutions that will actually solve the problem. That’s what’s so important about projects like OceanCore and Atando Cabos. We’re actually building a model for responsible recycling and sustainability solutions by demanding that we think in terms of the entire global supply chain.”
OceanCore and ocean plastic recovery are only the latest in a long series of sustainability innovations from Rehrig Pacific. The company’s Materials Engineering team is specifically tasked with finding uses for so-called “homeless plastics” — recycled plastics that still end up in landfills because there is no existing way to use them in manufacturing.
Other company innovations also offer sustainability advantages. Rehrig Pacific’s Fusion line of supply chain products, for example, has been adopted by leading distribution companies around the country and is bringing about dramatic improvements to shipping processes and greenhouse gas emissions from trucking. Its Vision software platform offers similar improvements to garbage collection routes for the waste and recycling industry. Rehrig Pacific has worked with leading beverage companies to develop recycling solutions for the wrappers and caps on plastic bottles, which are traditionally discarded, even in the recycling process.
Rehrig Pacific engineers are currently on the cutting edge of developing solutions for bulky rigid plastics, like laundry baskets and large toys, which have historically been neglected in status quo recycling practices. Rehrig Pacific routinely works directly with customers to develop customized closed-loop and circular plastic economy solutions tailor-made to achieve bold sustainability goals.
Rehrig Pacific has over a century of experience as a global solutions provider and is a leading authority on sustainable supply chain solutions. Founded in 1913, Rehrig Pacific’s products and solutions create value for their customers’ products and ideas as they move throughout the global supply chain. Learn more at www.RehrigPacific.com.
SOURCE Rehrig Pacific