In 2017, the City of Boise collaborated with Happy Family Brands, a local organic baby food company, to apply for a Hefty® EnergyBag® grant. In January 2018, the city was awarded a $50,000 grant to establish a local Hefty® EnergyBag® program.
The City of Boise is collaborating with key local groups, including materials recovery facility Western Recycling, hauler Republic Services, end market user Renewlogy, sponsor Happy Family and other soon-to-be local sponsors, each of which is vital to the Hefty® EnergyBag® program’s success in the community.
The Hefty® EnergyBag® program provides residents a new way to collect hard-to-recycle plastics that are not accepted in their Boise blue recycling carts, and converts them into valuable energy resources. The City of Boise began distributing the first year’s supply of Hefty® EnergyBag® orange bags to 73,000 households in April 2018.
Participating households can collect the hard-to-recycle plastics and place their tied bags in the blue carts for curbside collection with their recyclable items on their regular recycling days. Materials collected in the Hefty® EnergyBag® orange bags are delivered to Renewlogy, a pyrolysis facility that converts hard-to-recycle plastics into synthetic diesel fuel.
China’s decision to ban imports of recyclable items has impacted Boise, as well as many other communities in the U.S. The ban eliminated a major end market for North American recyclers and thus reduced the value of recycled materials. This presented an opportunity for the city to collaborate and rethink the way they manage waste. This was accentuated by the fact that the local materials recovery facility Western Recycling is not automated, making the quality of their recyclables unable to compete for those limited local markets. Because Western Recycling was unable to handle the additional volume of materials, Boise stopped collecting and recycling some of their #1 polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics – such as beverage and personal care product bottles – and all their #3-7 mixed plastics – ranging from pipes to packaging film, drinking straws, plastic-foam cups and baby bottles.
The Hefty® EnergyBag® program is helping Boise address an economically and environmentally challenging situation by collecting hard-to-recycle plastics, which would otherwise be landfilled, and instead sending them to Renewlogy, an approved local end market.
Due to China’s ban, Reynolds created a larger 13-gallon Hefty® EnergyBag® orange bag for the Boise program in anticipation that local households would collect a larger volume of materials.
If you live in the Boise area and want to learn more about how to participate in the program, click here.
How to Buy Hefty® EnergyBag® Orange Bags for the Boise Area Program
If you live in Boise, Meridian, Eagle or Garden City and you need additional bags, you can purchase additional orange bags at your local Albertsons.