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East Jordan Plastics Inc.

Our Fully Closed-Loop Plastic Recycling Process

Posted on March 29th, 2022 in News

At East Jordan Plastics, we’re striving for a sustainable future as a company dedicated to doing the right thing—and we have decades of experience to back that up. It’s been a passion of ours since 1947 when we started as a small, family business producing wooden flats. 

And now, we’re proud to be making a difference within the horticultural industry, creating sustainable solutions like plastic thermoformed and injection-molded horticultural containers. 

To do this, we bring back used plastic containers from growers nationwide, recycling nearly 20 million pounds of used horticultural containers annually and creating new products for the industry. 

In fact, our zero-waste, closed-loop recycling program has helped us become the leader in sustainable horticultural packaging. It’s a process through which growers can partner with us to recycle their old, used plastics for the development of new horticultural containers for the future.

How Our Program Works

Our recycling program starts with the grower, retailer, and consumer. We recycle polystyrene and polypropylene containers generated at both the greenhouse level and the retail level. At the greenhouse level, growers consolidate their used containers, any surplus containers, obsolete tags, and trays. 

At the retail level, consumers bring back their used growing containers to participating locations, including larger big-box retail outlets. Most participating locations have a shipping rack bannered with signs to instruct consumers to return their containers after planting their plants. When the shipping racks are full, and the grower returns to the store to deliver new plants, they take the full shipping rack back to their greenhouse location where the containers are either reused or sorted and consolidated for our team to recycle. 

Growers generally have a baler set up and three different sort bins at the ready—one sort bin for each plastic container type that comes back to the greenhouse. Workers then sort the plastic off the racks into each of the three bins. When a sorting bin is full, they can wheel them over to the baler and make a bale. 

It’s important that the material is sorted, consolidated, and bailed by material type. When a grower has enough material, whether it be a full load or less than a truckload that needs to be moved, we coordinate for our trucks to pick the material up, bring it back to our South Haven facility, and turn it into good, clean regrind to be used at our East Jordan, Beaverton, or South Haven facilities for manufacturing new containers.

How You Can Get Involved

This is truly a closed-loop recycling program—used horticultural containers are used to make new horticultural containers. 

Getting involved with our recycling program is as easy as making a call or sending an email. We want to talk with any grower who wants to recycle—because the more horticultural containers we can collect for recycling and keep within our industry, the fewer that will end up in a landfill. 

We like to think of it this way: we’re the original green industry—so let’s continue to be green by recycling plastic. We sincerely believe that this program is very important to the future of our industry. It’s all about making plastic growing containers the most sustainable growing container available. And that can be done by responsibly stewarding our valuable resources—the plastic within our industry and beyond—so we can use them for raw material over and over again.

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