Welcome to this edition of ISRI’s Plastics Beat. This summer, the recycling industry was rocked by news that China imposed severe restrictions on the importation of certain types of plastics as well as other commodities.
This news sent plastics processors around the country scrambling to separate what was fact and what was rumor. Fortunately, as members of ISRI, we were able to find out on an almost daily basis what was happening as the situation unfolded. This situation showed the power of ISRI membership and helped many members navigate a very tricky situation. While we are by no means out of the woods, we can be certain that we will continue to receive updates as the situation unfolds. ISRI will continue its tireless advocacy on our behalf and is communicating with other trade associations across the globe to ensure China and other governments understand the value of plastic exports.
I have the privilege of meeting and working with many individuals in the plastics recycling industry. Some are ISRI members some are not. When I discuss membership with non-members, I most often hear “Why should I spend money on ISRI? Where is the value?” The events over the summer prove ISRI’s value. I know of many non-members during this time were desperate for information and support and didn’t know where to turn. ISRI members were receiving information and direct support that helped them chart a course through an uncertain time.
While our Division will remain involved in the export issue, we’re also involved in other projects such as looking at the recycling of plastic bumpers and other types of post-industrial plastics. Our PVC scrap specification project is helping members that bring in large quantities of construction and demolition debris find markets for this material. Through our auto-bumper project, we’ve developed specifications and are now working with other associations on ways to drive demand across the value chain for TPO bumpers. This is all in our effort to boost demand and create sustainable markets for all types of plastics.
All-in-all, ISRI is working on a myriad of fronts to support the plastics recycling industry. Some of these projects may not apply to you, but rest assured, for those issues that do, help is just a phone call away.
ISRI Plastics Division Chair