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The Hefty® EnergyBag® is a program designed to recover non-recyclable plastics (plastics which cannot currently be mechanically recycled).

The Hefty® EnergyBag® program's goal is to achieve positive long-term environmental and economic advantages, including new products and fewer tons of plastics ending up in landfills. The Hefty® EnergyBag® initiative launched in Omaha, Nebraska in September 2016, in Louisville, Nebraska in 2018 and has now expanded to other cities across the country. 

HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE IN THE HEFTY® ENERGYBAG® PROGRAM? 
 
Cass County residents can participate in the program by placing their non-recyclable, soft/flexible plastics in bright orange Hefty® EnergyBags®. Once the orange bags are full, simply tie them shut. Then place the bags in your curbside recycling cart or your community recycling containers that are located in Avoca, Cedar Creek, Louisville, South Bend and Union. If your recycling carrier delivers recyclables to Firstar Fiber Corporation in Omaha, then the Energy Bag is accepted.
WHAT IS ACCEPTED IN THE HEFTY® ENERGYBAG® PROGRAM?
 
Examples of non-recyclable plastics that are accepted by the Hefty® EnergyBag® program include candy wrappers, potato chip bags, frozen food bags, toothpaste tubes, and shredded cheese bags. For a more comprehensive list, click here to download an information card.
WHERE CAN I GET THE ORANGE HEFTY® ENERGYBAGS®? 

You can purchase them at the following participating local retailers, located in the trash bag aisle:

  • HyVee
  • Bakers
  • Menards
  • Papillion Sanitation (contact them directly) 
  • Target
  • The Home Depot
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE HEFTY® ENERGYBAGS® AFTER THEY ARE COLLECTED?

After your local waste hauler picks up your tied orange bags along with your regular curbside recycling, the orange bags are then sent to Firstar Fiber Corporation where they are separated, baled, and soon will be turned into plastic lumber. 

Some History: When the Hefty® EnergyBag® program piloted in Omaha, a small quantity of material was sent to a cement kiln in Kansas City where it was used as a coal replacement, as this option burns hotter and cleaner than coal. However, this process was only considered a secondary market. According to Firstar Fiber, the primary end market of this material goes to pyrolysis facilities around the country where the plastics are converted into other energy sources.

Pyrolysis is a thermochemical treatment in which plastic material is exposed to high temperatures in the absence of oxygen, and goes through chemical and physical separation into different molecules. This process converts the plastic material into new products like transportation fuels, naphtha, and wax.

Now with more research, materials from the Hefty® EnergyBag® are being used to make other products such as plastic lumbers like fence posts, railroad ties, ceiling board and furniture. Firstar is currently repurposing part of their Omaha facility and will be making plastic lumber starting in the spring of 2022. They'll be closing the loop by collecting hard-to-recycle plastics and turning them into plastic lumber decking and outdoor furniture right in their Omaha facility. Stay tuned for more updates about this new project. 

To learn more about this program consult the Hefty web site

 

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