Carton Council North America, Foodservice Packaging Institute Support Chicago MRF

Stacks of paper and other waste at a recycling facility

(CredIt: Flickr)

by | Aug 15, 2023

Stacks of paper and other waste at a recycling facility

(CredIt: Flickr)

A collaborative grant from the Carton Council of North America and the Foodservice Packaging Institute has led to the opening of a new materials recovery facility (MRF) in Chicago.

The new facility will benefit more than 1 million city residents and meet the growing demand for recycling infrastructure in the area. The facility will be operated by Lakeshore Recycling Systems, the recycling provider for four of the city’s six recycling zones. The addition of the facility also contributes to Chicago’s improving recycling system, which saw a recycling rate of only 9% in 2022.

Designed with industry-leading practices and advanced technologies, the facility will be capable of efficient sorting and processing of recyclable materials. Such materials, like paper cups, food and beverage packaging, paper bags, and aluminum foil packaging, and polyethylene terephthalate and polypropylene cups, will be sent mainly to recyclers in the Great Lakes region to be made into new products.

“We are excited about the opening of this new facility, which will play a crucial role in processing a wide array of foodservice packaging items,” said Natha Dempsey, President of the Foodservice Packaging Institute. “We are thrilled to continue expanding recycling efforts in the region and drive innovation in waste management.”

U.S. Domestic Recycling Rates and MRFs

Plastic recycling rates in the United States sit at about 5%, and China’s decision to limit plastic imports also led to a decline in U.S. recycling numbers. Paper recycling rates maintain much higher numbers, but still fall at about 68% as of 2022, and aluminum recycling rates are about 35% as of 2018.

Increased investment in domestic MRFs such as this one is necessary for addressing recycling barriers and working towards circularity.

“This new facility will enable us to provide enhanced waste management services and maximize recycling efforts, benefiting the community we proudly serve,” said John Larsen, chief operating officer at LRS. “We are honored to be part of this partnership that fosters sustainability and drives positive environmental impact.”

Stay Informed

Get E+E Leader Articles delivered via Newsletter right to your inbox!

Share This