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Enterprise launches new recycling initiative

Michigan Tech’s Consumer Product Manufacturing (CPM) Enterprise recently announced a new recycling initiative in partnership with Kimberly-Clark. The project is designed to recycle No. 4 type plastics, commonly called flexible film plastics. These plastics cannot be recycled at a recycling facility due to their elastic nature.

No. 4 plastics, or Low-Density Polyethylenes (LDPE), can be identified by a number 4 inside a triangle somewhere on the item or through a flex test: if it stretches and does not tear, then it is likely a flex film plastic. Examples include plastic shopping bags, toilet paper overwrap, and six-pack can rings. 

Instead of throwing these plastics in the trash, individuals can bring them to Michigan Tech’s campus, where CPM has provided various drop-off locations. Clean and dry items can be deposited in their purple recycling containers in the North Coast Grill and Deli in the MUB or at the CPM office in the basement of Chem Sci. The collection bins will remain on campus until the end of the spring semester.  

According to CPM’s website, another goal for the project is designing an in-home collection system for consumers, so they can easily separate, store, and return their flex films. The team will also be working on an approach to incentivize consumers to save and recycle these products, and a collection service that brings the recycled items back to the producers in a way that they can use them. 

Students that participate in CPM leave Michigan Tech with the skills necessary for a career in manufacturing. Some of their other projects include the Mr. Lid team, who is working with dining services on implementing a returnable food packaging process, and the Commercial Keg Cleaner team, who has partnered with the Keweenaw Brewing Company to create a semi-automated keg cleaner, suitable for microbreweries. 

More information on CPM and their new recycling program can be found on their website at 


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