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DOW AND RUBBERMAID SET INDUSTRY PRECEDENT FOR STRETCH FILM RECYCLING

 CHICAGO, Dec. 1 ~PRNewswire~ -- Rubbermaid (NYSE: RBD) and The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW) announced today it recently completed a joint pilot program that successfully evaluated and recycled 100,000 pounds of postconsumer stretch film into specially designed formulations for Rubbermaid's new recycle-content commercial products.
 The joint pilot program between Dow and Rubbermaid was officially completed in September of this year, and Rubbermaid is now commercializing the business of using postconsumer stretch film for recycle-content commercial products, with plans to expand its use into its Home Products Division.
 Moreover, Dow is sharing what they learned through their program with Rubbermaid to help several industry groups -- the Automotive Industry Action Group and the Grocery Industry Committee on Solid Waste -- develop industry guidelines for effective use and recycling of stretch film.
 With the market for pallet stretch film now exceeding 500 million pounds per year, many film manufacturers and resin producers are exploring recycling options as positive approach to waste management of postconsumer stretch film. Due to a weak infrastructure for collection and only developing technology, the relatively small amount of film being recycled has been used for low-visibility applications.
 In October of 1991, Dow and Rubbermaid initiated their joint development agreement to evaluate the inclusion of recycled polyethylene film in the manufacture of Rubbermaid's housewares and commercial products. A multi-functional, multi-company team was formed to cover all aspects of the recycling chain: collection, reprocessing and reuse.
 During the course of the program, Rubbermaid identified sources of the material, and trained personnel at several grocery distribution warehouses to collect the used polyethylene stretch film for recycling.
 In the meantime, Dow asked Resource Plastics Corporation, a plastics recycling enterprise in Brantford, Ontario, to join the effort of finding a way to reprocess stretch film so it would compatibly blend into Rubbermaid's product.
 As explained by Jim Patin, Dow's project manager for the joint effort, "Our objective was to determine how to collect and process postconsumer pallet stretch film for reuse in Rubbermaid's applications. Rubbermaid identified sources that could deliver film for recycling. At the same time, we worked together to develop collected material specifications. A capable reprocessor, Resource Plastics Corporation in Brantford, Ontario, was asked to participate in the project. Then, trials were conducted to determine processing conditions required to meet reuse requirements. The project became a team effort between the three companies."
 Dow's Development Leader John Bieser adds, "We focused on the unique extruders or compounding conditions required for stretch film, and worked to eliminate color problems associated with polymer degradation. Then, we worked with Rubbermaid to create recycle-content formulations, based on 15-50 percent recycled stretch film. We went through extensive experimentation with the formulations. By the conclusion of the program, Rubbermaid converted the manufacture of seven commercial product lines to recycle-content formulations," Bieser said. "And Rubbermaid expects to convert about a dozen additional commercial product lines in ?near future."
 One of the reasons why postconsumer stretch film worked well for Rubbermaid's injection molded products is that stretch film resins are highly engineered for strength and toughness, and even after recovery from the disposal stream, the same performance characteristics can be attained in Rubbermaid's molded products.
 Bill Bennett, manager of commercial recycling development at Rubbermaid, is responsible for sourcing recycling materials. He explained, "As far as the institutional and commercial products we're making with recycled stretch film, we have not and will not compromise the intended quality or establish lower quality features versus an all- virgin product. The recycled-content products are as good as or better than the all-virgin products."
 Bennett continued, "It's true to say that in some cases, there's an improvement in the performance of the product with the recycled material, and it's very easily explained. Stretch film is meant to be a high-performing product at a very thin gauge, so when we use it in a thick-walled part, we're actually bringing a tough type of material into the application."
 The success of this program demonstrates that postconsumer stretch film can be used effectively in injection molded products. But more importantly, the program sets an industry precedent. By taking proactive roles, Dow and Rubbermaid have in essence helped develop a recycling methodology and infrastructure for stretch film.
 Rubbermaid, headquartered in Wooster, Ohio, is a multinational company that manufactures and markets plastic and rubber housewares, insulated coolers, commercial and institutional products, resin products, casual furniture and Little Tikes(R) children's products.
 Dow, headquartered in Midland, Mich., is a diversified, worldwide manufacturer and supplier of more than 2,000 products, including plastics, chemicals and performance products, hydrocarbons and energy, and consumer specialties -- which include agricultural products, consumer products and pharmaceuticals.
 Dow Plastics, a business group of The Dow Chemical Company, is a major manufacturer of polyolefins and elastomers, polyurethanes and epoxy resins, specialty plastics and construction materials, and styrenics and engineering thermoplastics.
 -0- 12~1~92
 ~CONTACT: Jon Kirst of Dow Plastics, 517-636-9189, or Brad Bremer of Gibbs & Soell, 212-697-2600, for Dow Chemical Company~
 (DOW RBD)


CO: Dow Chemical Company; Rubbermaid ST: Michigan, Ohio IN: CHM HOU SU: JVN

WB-OS -- NYTU002 -- 2243 12~01~92 08:31 EST
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Date:Nov 30, 1992
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