London's Hefty® EnergyBag® Pilot Project
The City of London, along with a number of partners, is excited to launch the London Hefty® EnergyBag® Pilot Project, which provides Londoners a new way to collect hard-to-recycle plastics currently not accepted in the Blue Box and give them another life.
Your household has been selected to help us turn those hard-to-recycle plastics into valuable recyclable resources and energy through this pilot project rather than placing them in the garbage. We cannot keep these materials out of landfill without your participation and support.
We want to make the collection process as convenient and easy as possible for you and your household. We are working on adding content to this website regularly, so please be sure to check back after you receive your Hefty® EnergyBag® starter kit.
In the meantime, check out the FAQ tab for answers to some of the bigger questions about London's Hefty® EnergyBag® Pilot Project.
Stay up-to-date on London's Hefty® EnergyBag® Pilot Project by entering your email on the Stay Connected tab.
Thank you to all the residents who dropped by and said hello at one of the three open houses the Hefty EnergyBag Pilot Project Team hosted the first week of December.
It was great to meet you and chat about this pilot project.
Acceptable items for the Hefty® EnergyBag® orange bags?
There are many hard-to-recycle plastics that currently do not belong in the Blue Box program but can be collected as part of the pilot project.
The list of acceptable items below are what we want you to place in the Hefty® orange bag.
Items must be empty, clean and dry.
If the item is not on this list, please do not place it in the Hefty® orange bag as it reduces the value of the materials that we want in the bag. If in doubt, leave it out! and put it in a garbage bag.
- Candy wrappers
- Condiment packets
- Foam take-out food containers
- Foam cups, plates, bowls
- Food bags
- Frozen food bags
- Plastic overwrap (like that found on cases of pop, toilet paper or paper towel)
- Food storage and sandwich bags
- Granola bar and energy bar wrappers
- Hot dog and sausage packaging
- Juice pouches
- Microwavable plastic pouches
- Packing foam peanuts
- Plastic cheese bags
- Plastic cups, plates, bowls
- Plastic deli meat & cheese packaging
- Plastic drink rings
- Plastic milk bags - inner and outer
- Plastic liners from food boxes
- Plastic meat packaging wrap
- Plastic and foam meat trays
- Plastic pet food bags
- Plastic produce bags
- Plastic straws & stirrers
- Plastic toothpaste tubes
- Plastic utensils
- Potato chip bags
- Salad bags
- Snack bags
- Squeezable pouches
- Stand-up pouches
NOTE: If this list changes and more materials are added, we will notify you via email. Please ensure you supply your email by visiting the Stay Connected tab.
Any item that is not on the acceptable Item list above must not go in the bag.
Here are a few examples of what NOT to put in the Hefty® orange bags:
- Aluminum, steel or metal
- Coffee pods
- Food and other packaging contents
- Household Hazardous waste
- Hoses, tubes or rope
- Liquids of any kind
- Medical products (even if plastic)
- Paper or paper products
- Plastic grocery bags should be returned to grocery stores with collection bins
- Plastic containers that belong in the Blue Box program (marked #1 through #7)
- Plastic toys
- Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC #3 plastic – like vinyl siding, pipes, appliance housings, etc.)
To ensure that the contents of the Hefty® EnergyBag® can be put to a higher value end-use depends on participants only adding plastic items from the list of acceptable items. Remember. . . If in doubt, leave it out! and put it in a garbage bag.
Where Do The Materials End Up?
Understanding Potential End Markets for the London Hefty® EnergyBag® Pilot Project
As a team, we have had many questions around what happens to the materials residents are placing out on the curb or dropping off at one of the City's EnviroDepot. Take a read below for more info on where these hard-to-recycle plastics end up.
Understanding Potential End Markets for the London Hefty® EnergyBag® Pilot Project
The Pilot Project is a recovery program that creates higher value materials and keeps materials out of landfill and is meant to work in conjunction with the City’s Blue Box program. It uses existing curbside recycling infrastructure to capture many plastic materials that can’t currently be recycled, supporting the further development of recycling and recovery end markets.
There are generally four types of plastics recycling/recovery categories, listed and explained below. Potential end uses for the materials collected in the Hefty® orange bags in London fall into categories two through four below.
- Mechanical Recycling
- Mixed Plastics Recycling
- Chemical or Molecular Recycling/Conversion Technologies
- Solid Recovered Fuel
Mechanical recycling involves sorting, cleaning and shredding plastic to make pellets, which can then be fashioned into new products. This approach works very well if plastic items are sorted according to their chemical composition (e.g., polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene), as they are now in London. This activity will not change during the Pilot Project.
Existing end markets in Ontario for plastics from London’s Blue Box/Blue Cart program include:
- EFS Plastics (Listowel, Ontario)
- Blue Mountains Plastics Recycling (Shelburne, Ontario)
- ReVital Polymers (Sarnia, Ontario)
The reality is not all plastics can be mechanically recycled (e.g., flexible plastic packaging and hard-to-recycle plastics) and it is these plastics which will be explored as part of the London Hefty® EnergyBag® Pilot Project.
The City of London generally follows the globally accepted Waste Management Hierarchy which promotes mechanical recycling and energy recovery as preferred options (in that order) before using its W12A Landfill.
Mixed Plastics Recycling
The Hefty® EnergyBag® team continues to collaborate and innovate with local manufacturers and recyclers to ensure that London’s Pilot Project, as well as Hefty® EnergyBag® programs across the United States, have suitable end-markets for the collected materials. The team is evaluating alternatives that include the manufacturing of durable composites that could be used as construction materials, plastic lumber, railroad ties, decking, siding, pallets, roads, fillers, outdoor furniture and concrete aggregate in building blocks.
Existing and/or potential local end-markets for hard-to-recycle plastics from London’s Pilot Project include:
- Composite plastic lumber, outdoor furniture
- Aggregates for incorporation into concrete blocks
Chemical or Molecular Recycling / Conversion Technologies
When mechanical recycling end-markets are not available, chemical or molecular recycling/conversion technologies that turn plastic into energy sources or feedstock for fuels and products will be used. This a revolutionary new recycling technology that de-polymerizes the plastic returning it to its original molecules so that it can be recycled to infinity.
There are generally two different technologies used - pyrolysis and gasification.
In pyrolysis, plastic waste is heated (not combusted or burned) in the absence of oxygen to produce liquid mixtures that are like synthetic crude oil. This can be further refined into transportation fuels and potentially into chemical feedstocks and basic chemical elements that could be used to make new virgin polymers/plastics.
Gasification involves heating the waste plastic with air or steam to produce valuable industrial gas mixtures called synthesis gas, or “syngas.” This can then be used to produce fuels, fuel additives or valuable chemicals such as ethanol and methanol.
Pyrolysis and gasification are alternative processes to directly combusting (burning) the plastic. Conversion technologies are chemical reactions and have very low emissions. They do not use direct combustion like energy-from-waste (EFW) and have much lower emissions of sulfur and nitrogen oxides than EFW combustion.
The main goal of energy-from-waste (EFW) is to dramatically reduce the volume of materials that would require landfilling. The heat released from EFW is used to produce steam to drive a turbine and generate electricity but this is really a by-product of the process.
Pyrolysis and gasification produce electricity, fuels and and ultimately chemicals to make new plastics. These processes provide additional options for extending the life of valuable plastics other than EFW.
Solid Recovered Fuel
Hard-to-recycle plastics can be used as an alternative fuel source in the manufacturing of cement. The embedded energy value of plastics offset the use of virgin fossil fuel sources such as coal and coke.
The materials collected via the Hefty® EnergyBag® program in other locations have proven suitable as solid recovered fuel given its high heat value. The materials collected can also be compressed into solid fuel pellets or flakes.
If your organization has a recovery or conversion solution, manufacturing process or a mixed plastic recycling solution that could use materials collected in the Hefty® EnergyBag® pilot project and you would like to be considered, please email Jesus Atias. Dow, North America Sustainability Manager | Packaging & Specialty Plastics.
The Hefty® EnergyBag® program is demonstrating that households can sort out hard-to-recycle materials and recover these valuable resources instead of letting them go to waste in a landfill. There are existing and developing end-markets for flexible plastic packaging and hard-to-recycle plastics. Growing this end-market potential – mixed plastics recycling, to recovering the energy value and/or making the most of each molecule – is part of London’s goal to advance a more circular economy and is a key component of the London Hefty® EnergyBag® Pilot Project.
These details will be updated as more information on end markets becomes available.
FAQs-London's Hefty® EnergyBag® Pilot Project
Below your London Hefty® EnergyBag® Pilot Project team has compiled a list of FAQs to help you navigate your way through participating in this exciting pilot project.
If you still have questions, please reach out to the team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 519-661-2489 ext. 8413.
Don't forget to submit your email to receive updates on the pilot project by visiting the 'Stay Connected' tab on this website.
- Is there a difference between a Curbside and an EnviroDepot household participating in this pilot project?
- Will the Hefty® EnergyBag® program compete with existing recycling programs?
- How full should the Hefty® EnergyBag® orange bags be?
- Where will the Hefty® orange bags go?
- Is there a cost for those for the participating households?
- How much is the pilot project going to cost?
- Is the program voluntary?
- How do I get updates about the pilot project?
- When will more details be available?
Pilot Project Neighbourhoods
Pilot Project Neighbourhoods
The London Hefty® EnergyBag® Pilot Project initial phase will encompass approximately 13,000 households across nine communities in the City of London.
Below are the neighbourhoods included in the first phase of this pilot project, along with a link to the neighbourhood community page through London's Neighbourgood website.
Phase One Curbside Neighbourhoods
Phase One EnviroDepot Neighbourhoods
Pilot Project Partners
The London Hefty® EnergyBag® Pilot Project could not happen without many partners.