US – American multinational food company Kraft Heinz, has installed new roofs made of recycled plastic packaging on manufacturing facilities in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, and Holland, Michigan in an effort to meet its sustainability goals.
Kraft Heinz said that the plastic roof is made from post-consumer material that comes from flexible plastic similar to what the CPG giant uses for its products.
The company says that it will monitor the recycled material’s performance versus conventional building materials, and may standardize its use if the test goes well.
Kraft Heinz will also report the results to the Association of Plastic Recyclers Demand Champion program, which it joined last year.
Flexible plastic: a necessary evil
Flexible plastic is an important component of food packaging, but it can be difficult to recycle.
In 2018, discarded packaging made up 82.2 million tons of waste — 28.1% of all waste that year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
In that year, 14.5 million tons of plastic packaging was made. About two-thirds of it ended up in landfills.
Kraft Heinz is seeking to address the problem of plastic waste by literally taking recycled plastic packaging to new heights.
The recycled roof boards are 4 feet by 8 feet, and 94% of each board is made from post-consumer plastic and fiber.
The company didn’t indicate how much of the roof had been covered in the recycled boards, but it’s certainly being put to the test as both manufacturing facilities have recently experienced snow that is more than 1 foot.
Potential game changer in roofing
If this test works and the recycled material is as good as the conventional roofing, it could be a game changer for Kraft Heinz.
The company could potentially renovate its factories with its own post-consumer waste, which would be impactful.
According to Kraft Heinz’s annual report, it has 81 manufacturing facilities worldwide and owns all but three.
The company’s pilot project may additionally have a positive impact on the building industry.
It may help popularize this reuse of plastic packaging, as well as lead to improvements in the strength, weatherproofing and longevity of this roofing material.
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