February 2006

A Closer Look E-mail the author

Daniel SchragerNextLife Recycling
Daniel Schrager
Del Ray Beach, Florida • 877-698-5433

Daniel Schrager has started a lot of recycling businesses. First came Sun Valley Worldwide, Inc., which has grown in its dozen-plus years to fit its “worldwide” name. That wasn’t quite enough for Schrager, so Mountain Valley Recycling came next, about three years ago. Recently, NextLife Recycling was born.

With each company, Schrager has narrowed the recycling focus. Sun Valley is a full-service worldwide recycling company, while Mountain Valley focuses on recycling plastics and manufacturing usable plastic resins from the recycled materials.

NextLife, the latest venture, is most interested in plastic film material, including grocery bags and similar products. NextLife sets up recycling programs and buys the film, which goes to Mountain Valley, where it becomes “brand new resin,” according to Schrager.

Like many other recycling companies, Schrager’s Sun Valley Worldwide used to sell plastic film to the composite lumber industry, a seasonal market. Relying on a seasonal market meant that there were times when the film was either not profitable or the market was virtually nonexistent. “We got so frustrated, we decided to figure it out ourselves,” he said.

“There’s got to be a better way,” he told himself, and that better way included a technology that turns the film into new resins which can then be used to manufacture new plastic products. The end products are no longer limited to that small, seasonal market. With Mountain Valley committed to buying the film and making the resins, that film now has a long-term guaranteed market, making it a more desired scrap product. “We are the mill,” Schrager said. “We are the end user.”

In a process Schrager called “closed-loop recycling” that plastic film might be used to make recycling bins, plastic pallets, crates or other products and delivered back to the company that recycled the film. The loop doesn’t stop there, though. “We don’t just recycle plastic film,” Schrager said. “They can put all of their plastic into the trailer,” so if those pallets or crates or bins get damaged, they can be recycled and return as new again and again.

NextLife isn’t quite the same as Schrager’s other companies, in that it’s a “recycling alliance” including “some of the biggest film and bag manufacturers,” according to Schrager. “Every company that manufactures plastic film is welcome to join,” he said. By joining the alliance, Schrager explained that “manufacturers for free have a complete recycling infrastructure at their disposal.”

“Our philosophy is…one of our main goals is to increase the amount of recycling,” Schrager said. He explained that only about 3 percent of plastic film is collected and recycled. His goal is to increase that to 10 percent and beyond.

Schrager said that in some areas where plastic bags aren’t being recycled, cities are imposing taxes on the bags as a way to force bag manufacturers to find ways to recycle. NextLife wants to be that way. He said that NextLife can also help all sorts of grocers, retailers, waste haulers and recyclers who have plastic film waste.

Schrager said that the best part of his business is “that we have an opportunity to make a real difference and a real change in this industry.” And by finding a method to effectively recycle plastic film, he’s well on his way towards his goal – to “increase the recycling.”


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