FAIRFAX, Vt.—Old spouts can't find a home.
The Northwest Vermont Solid Waste District continues to seek alternatives to landfilling polycarbonate spouts.
Unfortunately, the NWSWD has been unsuccessful during the prior eight months in identifying a downstream facility with the in-house capacity to fully process PC spouts.
Clear PC spout samples shipped to an Illinois processor did not result in advancing to bench-level processing.
Fully processing PC spouts will require three steps: grinding, washing and flotation separation to remove sapline contaminant plastic and other debris.
Complicating the processing requirements, PC spouts intended for recycling compete with higher-value commodity market PC materials that are clean and without contaminant plastics.
Cost effectively producing a PC spout grind material for blending with higher quality PC resins will be difficult, as most recycling facilities are only equipped with a grinding line and not equipped with a wash and flotation line.
Additionally, PC spouts are available in several colors or tints and it appears that a successful recycling program will likely require spout separation by tint or color.
Currently, NWSWD’s initiative remains focused on clear PC spouts.
The ease and familiarity of sending trash to the landfill competes with the difficulty and costs of developing an alternative that will recycle single use plastic PC spouts.
NWSWD has collected approximately 1,000 pounds of clear PC spouts, remains committed to identifying a downstream processor for a bench-level scale test and looks forward to updating interested Vermont syrup producers with another update later in the year.
The district represents dozens of municipalities in the nation’s biggest syrup producing region.