10to90 Plastic Collection Pilot Advances Union Pacific's Sustainability Commitment

First 10to90 plastic collection bin at Englewood Yard, Houston. | L

The first of many plastic collection bins is now stationed at Union Pacific’s Englewood Yard in Houston. From left: Cyclyx’s Zach Divin, director, Operations-Houston Metro Programs, joins Union Pacific team members Mary Lincer, director-Sales; Bobby Martin, manager-Marketing; Ashley Stinebaugh, general director-Marketing and Sales; and Jared Boysen, manager-Environmental Compliance.

Union Pacific Railroad is kickstarting a 10to90 plastics circularity pilot, removing the intermediary to sustainably send post-consumer plastic back to the source.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, only 10% of post-use plastic is recycled. The rate is low because existing infrastructure can only accept certain types and qualities of plastic waste for recycling. Cyclyx – a post-use plastic innovator, developing solutions to unlock plastic's recycling potential – is collaborating with municipalities, consumers and industry partners like Union Pacific to source and collect plastic waste destined for landfills.

"Our 10to90 mission is to increase the recyclability of plastic waste from 10% to 90%," said Bill Cooper, senior vice president, Corporate Strategy and Development, Cyclyx. “The collaborative work with Union Pacific demonstrates how our Cyclyx Consortium can make a positive difference for industries. We look forward to helping Union Pacific meet its sustainability goals while simultaneously increasing the circularity of plastic.”

While the initial pilot focuses on beverage bottles, commonly made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the program will expand to all-plastic collection, providing a convenient channel to effectively recycle plastic film, drums, and even locomotive parts. Post-consumer plastic can be recycled into many things, including new soft drink and water bottles, carpet or nylon fabrics – goods Union Pacific hauls for its customers.

Familiarizing employees with the 10to90 program and processes at Union Pacific’s Englewood and Settegast facilities, Cyclyx is building awareness and providing the necessary infrastructure to expand plastic waste collection beyond PET across the railroad’s system.

“Union Pacific joined the Cyclyx Consortium to partner with its member companies and lend our expertise to develop supply chain solutions for increasing recycling rates,” said Ashley Stinebaugh, general director-Marketing and Sales, Union Pacific. “As the premier rail carrier of plastic resin in the United States, we are always looking for new ways to participate in plastics circularity opportunities.”

Union Pacific’s interest in supporting the circular economy extends beyond the Gulf Coast.

“This collaboration with Cyclyx and our business resource group, Planet Tracks, is just one example of our commitment to supporting sustainable economic growth,” Stinebaugh said.

Visit Inside Track to learn more about Union Pacific’s partnership with Cyclyx and Operation Clean Sweep.

Learn about Planet Tracks, Union Pacific’s first business resource group dedicated to helping employees champion and promote environmental stewardship and sustainability initiatives. 

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