Sustainability may involve a circular economy, but recycling plastic bags is a two-way street — or at least a parking lot — at a Meijer store in Michigan. Meijer and Dow recently collaborated to create a durable parking lot made with 12,500 pounds of post-consumer recycled plastic at a supercenter in Holland, Mich.
All of the recycled plastic used for the parking lot at the Holland store was deposited by customers through the retailer’s in-store plastic film recycling program. Meijer projects that the company will recycle 6 million pounds of plastic across its locations, an effort that began in 2014 when collection bins were first placed inside its stores.
“Meijer operates under the philosophy that to be a good company, we must be a good neighbor and that often means working with other like-minded companies on a common goal,” said Rick Keyes, president and CEO of Meijer. “We are committed to lessening our impact on the environment and are pleased to partner with our customers and Dow in the largest in-state project of this kind to better demonstrate our commitment to a circular economy through recycling and reusing plastic to better ensure a more sustainable future.”
In this pilot project, recycled plastic materials were used to create recycled polymer modified asphalt (RPMA). Dow, which began working on such projects in Indonesia in 2017, contends that the surface offers increased durability compared to “unmodified” asphalt.
“This is an exciting partnership from start to finish and a perfect example of how the plastics used to keep food safe and fresh, like bread bags, can have a new life as infrastructure like a parking lot,” said CJ DuBois, North American paving application development leader, Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics. “Our collaboration with Meijer began two years ago. This RPMA parking lot made with recycled content and our ELVALOY RET is just one example of how we’re continually creating new technologies and initiatives to transform used plastics into functional and valuable solutions.”
Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer operates 257 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The company is No. 18 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.