The plastics recycling industry gathered in Nashville recently at the Plastics Recycling Conference to meet, network, and discuss issues that are facing the industry.
by Maite Quinn, ISRI Plastics Division Chair
As we all know, the past few months have been stressful and what was once considered the “way business is done” is no longer relevant. Whether it’s China banning imports of scrap plastics materials or brand owners advocating for adding materials to the curbside bin, this is an industry that is full of challenges.
As the industry faces these challenges, it makes the work we do with the Plastics Division even more important. Over my tenure as Chair we’ve worked on a number of initiatives – continuing our work to fill out our plastics scrap specifications, educating the membership about ocean plastics, working on policies to require more recycled content in plastic packaging and other products, and developing a strategic plan that will allow the Division to easily adapt to whatever the future may hold.
As we look to the future, I’m excited about the prospects that lay ahead – the industry is becoming more cohesive and we are all pulling on the same oar to improve plastics recycling. Overall, we see the Sustainable Packaging Council’s “How2Recycle” label communicate to the public about the items that can be recycled, Association of Plastic Recyclers “Demand Champions” program encourage brand owners to incorporate more recycled content, and the Recycling Partnerships reaching out to municipalities and other stakeholders to increase the access to recycling. And here at ISRI over the past several months we’ve done extensive outreach to communicate to the industry about China’s import ban and ensure the industry has all the information it needs to adapt to this situation. In addition to this work, we’re working with the Plastics Industry Association in developing demand for recycled plastic from auto bumper covers. All of this work is designed to increase demand, and create markets for recycled plastics, both post-consumer and post-industrial.
As the industry turns to developing projects and programs to improve the quality of the bales we make and to increase demand for those bales, your participation in our Division will help us ensure the tools and messages we develop accurately reflect the will of the membership. I encourage you to get involved and attend our next Plastics Division meeting which will be held in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 15 as part of our Board meeting.
I look forward to seeing you there.