State-of-the-art plastics recycling plant opens near Minneapolis

December 11, 2023

Regional circular economy initiative breaks new ground 

 

MINNEAPOLIS–SAINT PAUL, MN, December 11, 2023—A state-of-the-art facility designed to recycle flexible film, a widely used material that includes pallet wrap, shrink wrap, single-use shopping bags and some food packaging, has officially opened in Rogers, Minnesota. Myplas USA, a South Africa–based plastics recycler, opened its mechanical recycling and pelletizing plant near Minneapolis, marking a major milestone for a collaborative effort among leading global businesses to catalyze a regional circular economy for flexible films and packaging materials in the Upper Midwest.   

“This is a very exciting day for Myplas as we open our U.S. headquarters and our first U.S. recycling facility in Minnesota,” said Andrew Pieterse, Myplas USA CEO. “It’s been a remarkable journey to help bring this vision to life, and we are proud to bring our expertise to this ground-breaking initiative. The ongoing commitment of our partners has been vital to bringing us to this point. We are excited for what lies ahead.”  

At full capacity, the facility will recycle nearly 90 million pounds of plastic waste per year, enough to encircle the globe in pallet wrap more than 135 times. It is expected to employ nearly 200 people.   

Cross-sector support and investment  

Led by the GREATER MSP Partnership’s MBOLD coalition, this groundbreaking circular economy initiative highlights how collaboration across the value chain can drive innovation, cut waste and reduce the use of virgin plastic.  

The new Myplas facility was made possible by a joint $13 million equity investment by lead investors General Mills, Schwan’s Company and Midwest-based film manufacturer Charter Next Generation, and supporting investors Target and Ecolab. The Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), Closed Loop Partners and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) provided additional financial support for development of the recycling facility. DEED also provided support from the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership (MJSP) for workforce training and development. 

“Reducing the impact of flexible packaging and film waste requires us to think innovatively and creatively,” said Dimitrios Smyrnios, CEO of Schwan’s Company and MBOLD’s chair and executive champion for this initiative. “Schwan’s chose to invest in Myplas because we’re committed to reducing the environmental impact of our packaging, and we want to be a catalyst for other companies to do the same. It’s the right thing to do for our environment, our business and our region.”   

Flexible film: The next frontier in recycling  

The U.S. economy uses 12–15 billion pounds of flexible packaging and films every year for products ranging from pallet wrap to e-commerce mailers, boat wrap, food packaging, shrink wrap, lawn and garden bags, and hay bale wrap. However, only an estimated 5 percent of flexible films used in the U.S. is recycled each year, with the rest being landfilled, incinerated or released into the environment.  

“Our region is leading the nation in tackling tough sustainability issues,” said JoAnne Berkenkamp, managing director of MBOLD. “Myplas now provides regionally appropriate recycling opportunities for this challenging material, and we are driving innovation to incorporate recycled resin into new film products. Collaboration across the value chain is the secret sauce.”  

“The management of film and flexible plastic waste presents one of the most substantial opportunities for resource and value recovery in the plastic value chain,” said Nicholas Kolesch, vice president of projects at AEPW. “With Myplas at the center of the MBOLD partnership, we see the demonstration of effective cross-sector collaboration from the collection of commercial and retail film waste, to processing at converters and ultimately a pathway for brands to integrate Myplas recycled plastics in their products.”  

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said, “The opening of the Myplas facility in Rogers is exciting news for the local community, region and entire state. By bringing a new industry with hundreds of new jobs to Minnesota, this investment is a testament to our state’s innovation, commitment to sustainable solutions and the strength of our business ecosystem. We welcome Myplas to Minnesota and celebrate the collaboration and partnership that made this win possible.” 

 

Additional quotes 

“The opening of Myplas shows what is possible when we face a challenge together and collaborate to find creative solutions,” said Jeff Harmening, General Mills chairman and CEO and former MBOLD chair. “Together, we’ve been able to partner and tackle the pressing issue of flexible film packaging that impacts our industry—and ultimately, take action that benefits our environment and economy.”   

“This first-of-its-kind initiative puts the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region on the global map for solving complex environmental challenges,” said Peter Frosch, President and CEO of the GREATER MSP Partnership. “By working together in creative ways, we’re unlocking significant value and economic opportunity for the region. Through initiatives like MBOLD, the GREATER MSP Partnership is tackling some of the greatest challenges of the new economy.”

“Flexible films play a critical role in ensuring food freshness and shelf-life stability, but effective recovery and recycling of these materials is a challenge. CNG is excited to celebrate this milestone and begin fulfilling the vision, with Myplas and our partners at MBOLD, to create a circular economy for flexible film in the Upper Midwest,” said Kathy Bolhous, CEO of Charter Next Generation. 

“Building robust materials recovery infrastructure is a critical part of accelerating a more circular economy for materials, including films and flexible packaging,” said Jennifer Louie, managing director and head of the Closed Loop Infrastructure Group at Closed Loop Partners. “Myplas continues to be a leader in advancing circular pathways for these materials. We are proud to collaborate with stakeholders across the value chain and support Myplas in its important work to keep more materials in supply chains at their highest value.”  

About Myplas 

Myplas USA, Inc., recycles and pelletizes both low- and high-density polyethylene and produces both food grade and non-food grade resin. The Myplas plant in Rogers, MN, is the company’s first in the United States. At full capacity, the 170,000-square-foot facility will recycle nearly 90 million pounds of packaging and film per year. Myplas USA is the first international subsidiary of MRI Investments Inc., which owns Myplas Pty Ltd, a South Africa–based recycling business. Myplas USA 

About MBOLD 

MBOLD is a coalition of Minnesota-based food and agriculture business leaders and innovators working to accelerate solutions to the most pressing challenges facing food and agriculture. MBOLD is part of the GREATER MSP Partnership, a coalition of more than 4,500 individuals from more than 300 leading businesses, universities, cities, counties and philanthropic organizations working together to accelerate competitiveness and inclusive economic growth of the 15-county Minneapolis–Saint Paul region while leading the nation in tackling the most difficult challenges of the new economy. mbold.org and greatermsp.org  

About Charter Next Generation 

Charter Next Generation (CNG) is North America’s leading independent producer of high-performance, specialty films used in flexible packaging and other end-use markets. It is known for sustainable, innovative products and world-class manufacturing capabilities. Along with General Mills and Schwan’s Company, CNG is a lead investor in Myplas USA. Based in Wisconsin, CNG will also purchase recycled resin from Myplas USA and use it to produce new specialty film products for use in food, industrial and healthcare applications. cnginc.com 

About the Alliance to End Plastic Waste 

The Alliance to End Plastic Waste (Alliance) is a global nonprofit organization with the mission to end plastic waste in the environment and to advance a circular economy for plastics. The Alliance convenes more than 70 companies across the plastic value chain with local communities, civil society groups, intergovernmental organizations and governments. The collective know-how, experience and resources of this global network enable the current portfolio of more than 50 projects. endplasticwaste.org  


About Closed Loop Partners 

Closed Loop Partners is a leading investment firm advancing the circular economy through Closed Loop Capital Management, the Center for the Circular Economy and Circular Services. Closed Loop Capital Management manages venture capital, buyout private equity and catalytic private credit investment strategies. The firm’s catalytic private credit arm, the Closed Loop Infrastructure Group, finances scalable circular economy infrastructure and technologies. Closed Loop Partners is based in New York City and is a registered B Corp. closedlooppartners.com  

CONTACT 

Don Ball, GREATER MSP Director of Communications 

don.ball@greatermsp.org 

612-810-3153