In a first-of-its-kind event, ISRI and Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) partnered to put on the MRF Summit in conjunction with SWANA’s WASTECON Expo. The Summit was held August 22-23 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort located in Nashville.
The purpose of the Summit was to bring together recyclers, municipalities, and brand owners to talk about common issues and provide solutions to issues of “contamination” and “quality” that relate to specification materials being manufactured by the nation’s Material Recycling Facilities (MRFs). The Summit was developed as a response to the shifting markets the industry has recently experienced. This shifting landscape is a result of a number of factors – including several Southeast Asian countries (such as China, Vietnam, and Thailand closing or severely restricting imports), an increased level of “wishcycling” (materials that should not be put in the bin but are by a well-meaning public), and a resulting decrease in the quality of specification grade material being produced by MRFs. The MRF Summit gave all members of the industry the opportunity to discuss and identify solutions for this situation and how to turn those solutions into tools to help alleviate the situation.
The main attraction for the MRF Summit was the Breakout Session, “Facing the Music: Are We Listening to Different Tunes?” in which attendees split into small groups and were tasked to discuss and develop solutions to problems related to packaging design, policy, or operational challenges.
ISRI’s MRF Council will take the lead in analyzing the options and ideas which were laid out at the meeting and will spend the remainder of the year turning those ideas and concepts into deliverable tools that can be shared by the industry.
If you have any questions or would like to take part in future MRF Council activities, please contact Jonathan Levy
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