Helping Divert Plastic Waste From Our Landfills


In a year, the U.S. generates about 262 million tons of municipal solid waste. Of that waste, approximately 138 million tons end up in landfills! Discarded plastics make up nearly one-fifth of the materials that go to landfills1. But what if they didn’t have to? Honestly, we don’t want our plastics to go to waste! There are better things to do with used plastics than sending them to landfills.

Recycling is one way to put used plastics to good use again. Energy recovery can be another. There is no reason to continue to send plastics items that can’t be recycled to the landfill if they can be recovered and converted to valuable energy resources. That’s where the Hefty® EnergyBag® Program can help!

The Hefty® EnergyBag® program complements mechanical recycling programs and uses existing curbside recycling infrastructure to capture many plastic materials that can’t currently be recycled. Once collected, these materials can be converted into useful resources like diesel fuel, oils and waxes rather than being sent to the landfill.

How the Program Works
What began as a concept and 2014 pilot program is now an active program in a number of US communities, with a first program to launch in Canada in late 2019. The Hefty® EnergyBag® Program represents a collaboration between Dow, Reynolds Consumer Products, and local municipal and industry leaders. This innovative program complements existing curbside recycling, helping to enable communities to collect plastic items they can’t recycle – like juice pouches, candy wrappers, foam packaging materials, and plastic dinnerware – in Hefty® EnergyBag® orange bags. Once at the curb, the tightly closed bags are collected using the same recycling carts and trucks residents are used to, but the distinctive Hefty® orange bags are pulled off at the front end of the recycling process, in the pre-sorting area. The bags are separated, then baled and sent to be converted into energy resources. Recovering these plastics you can’t recycle keeps them out of landfills and can put their molecules back to work as diesel fuel, oils and waxes.

Starting a Hefty® EnergyBag® Program in your Community
Dow and Keep America Beautiful (KAB) established the Hefty® EnergyBag® Grant Program to help offset initial startup costs of the program and to help provide guidance. Along with funding for qualified communities, Dow consults with key stakeholders as they begin to implement their local programs. Our desire is to help more communities successfully launch self-sustaining Hefty® EnergyBag® Programs. Visit the Keep America Beautiful site for information about Hefty® EnergyBag Grant Programs or complete a brief registration form to view a webinar about what’s involved in starting a program. Visit for information about active programs.