Clamshell Recycling Initiative


In 2009 when Dordan discovered that the thermoformed packaging it manufactures were not collected for recycling in the majority of American communities, it began an investigation into the complexities of recycling in America, narrated in its then blog, Recycling in America.

This blog caught the attention of Walmart Canada's Sustainable Packaging Coordinator, who was organizing a working group of PET stakeholders to investigate how to increase PET thermoform recycling in Canada.

Invited to serve as the co-lead of this Material Optimization Committee, Dordan worked with Walmart Canada from 2009-2010, learning about the economics of waste management, and how to overcome the obstacles to clamshell recycling.

These efforts culminated with the release of Dordan's 2010 Recycling Report, The Truth about Clamshell and Blister Recycling in America with Suggestions for Industry. Here, Slavin discusses why thermoformed packaging like plastic clamshells are not recycled, with suggestions for what the industry could do to overcome these barriers.

After it's publication, Dordan was invited to present at industry events on its research and became an integral player in the discourse around thermoform recycling.

In 2011, Dordan was awarded the cover feature of Green Manufacturer Magazine for its efforts to recycle thermoformed packaging.

In 2012, Moore Recycling Associates reported that PET thermoformed packaging was now collected for recycling in the majority of American communities; therefore, plastic clamshells are officially recyclable. 

In 2013, Dordan published a follow up to its 2010 Recycling Report, The State of Post-Consumer PET Recycling: Past, Present & Future. This Report described how the industry collaborated to remove the obstacles to PET thermoform collection for recycling.

Dordan was invited to present its research in the UK at RECOUP Plastic Recycling Conference, awarded the cover feature of Plastics in Packaging Magazine. 

In 2015, Dordan published it's final report on plastic clamshell recycling, Postconsumer PET Thermoformed Containers: Recyclable vs. Recycled. This report was featured on the cover of Plastics in Packaging Magazine and described how clamshells are collected for recycling and recycled today.

Grn mfg cover
PIP cover
2015 recycling report