A new plastics recycling facility in the US city of Phoenix promises a sustainable business model for the environment, society, and workers.
Touted as the ‘first-of-its-kind’, the Circular Plastics Microfactory was inaugurated on Feb. 6 and is a partnership between Arizona State University (ASU), the city of Phoenix, Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, and Hustle PHX.
The microfactory concentrates collection of waste plastic, processing, and remanufacturing processes all under one roof.
“It’s the first plastics microfactory of its kind,” said Alicia Marseille, senior director of ASU’s Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service in the Global Futures Laboratory. “These components — the processing, the collections, the remanufacturing — exist, but they’re spread out all over the world. This is the first attempt to do the entire process in one location to actualise a regional circular economy.”
Located at the Goodwill Retail Operations Center in Phoenix, the facility will take sorted plastic waste from Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, process it into pellets, and use the pellets to create new products for sale. The facility is currently able to process plastic types 2 and 5 (HDPE and PP) but has the capability to expand to include types 1 and 4 (PET and LDPE) in the future. It is expected to have an annual capacity of 550 tons and will employ around 10 people.