How a Big Box Store Brings Recycled Plastic Bags Full Circle

This paving technique pilot project, recycled approximately 12,500 pounds of plastic collected from Meijer customers through in-store recycling bins.

Rieth-Riley, produced the final hot-mix asphalt and paved the Meijer parking lot and gas station.
Rieth-Riley, produced the final hot-mix asphalt and paved the Meijer parking lot and gas station.

In a collaboration with Meijer, a supercenter chain throughout the Midwest, and Dow enables new paving technique using recycled plastic bags to create a more durable parking lot for the retailer's Holland, MI supercenter.

This recycled polymer modified asphalt (RPMA) parking lot is a three-phase pilot project that used approximately 12,500 pounds of post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR), which is the equivalent weight of 944,000 plastic grocery bags.

This project brings recycled plastic bags full circle, and also represents a long-term collaboration between two Michigan companies working toward a more sustainable future.

"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," says Rick Keyes, President & 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."

All of the recycled plastic used for the parking lot pilot project was deposited by Meijer customers through the retailer's in-store plastic film recycling program. In 2014, Meijer placed a collection bin inside the front entrances of each of its stores for customers to deposit clean, dry plastic bags and films, including single use, bread, dry cleaning, produce and water softener bags. This year, Meijer expects to recycle 6 million pounds of plastics through this program.

"Lessening our impact on the environment through increased recycling efforts is an issue that's important to us, which is why we believe this pilot project is just one of the ways we can bring our current recycling efforts full circle while improving our customer shopping experience," says Vik Srinivasan, Senior Vice President of Properties and Real Estate at Meijer.

Read More: Use of Plastic Additives in Asphalt Mixtures Increasing

This pilot project incorporated numerous partners to take the recycled plastics and turn them into a resurfaced parking lot. PADNOS, a materials recycler, aggregated the Meijer recycled plastics, and converted them into usable PCR content. K-Tech Specialty Coatings, an asphalt emulsion company, modified the base asphalt binder with ELVALOY™ RET and PCR content. Rieth-Riley, the construction contractor, produced the final hot-mix asphalt and paved the Meijer parking lot and gas station.

This is not the first time recycled plastic modified asphalt has been used on a project. In August, 2019 Dow announced the completion in Michigan of the first public asphalt road in the United States paved using a recycled plastic modified asphalt. In that same year, Dow also announced the completion of two private roads at its Freeport, TX facility.

This press release was submitted by Golin, PRNewswire and modified by associate editor, Dormie Roberts.