Welcome to the Spring Edition of the Plastics Beat. In this edition we’ll be looking at some very important issues and how ISRI is working hard to find solutions to the challenges that are in front of us. As I’m sure you have heard and read in your local paper or even in the national press, plastics and plastics recycling has taken a major reputational hit recently. Many papers are claiming that recycling is “broken” or doesn’t work. They have used pictures of marine debris as evidence that plastic should be banned. All of this adds up to a major challenge to our industry. But as recyclers we are no strangers to facing challenges head on – either in our business or promoting our industry.
One of the solutions out of this recent crisis is to encourage manufacturers to use more recycled content in their products. While I understand that this may not be easy, as manufacturers have a complex decision matrix to satisfy when developing their packaging and products, we must never falter in bringing the message that recycled content is as good as virgin material. By encouraging recycled content in the manufacturing process, we can create a value chain that can strengthen our industry and raise the recycling rate in the process. As chair of the Plastics Division I have brought many of our members together and we are working on a strategy to bring this message to the manufacturing community.
Further, as the public reads more and more negative articles about plastic, we need to find a way to get our message out. To help with this effort, the Plastic Division is working with the Ocean Conservancy to host a series of beach and waterway cleanups around the country. To be successful, we’ll need member support and the support of local communities. Not only will cleaning our lakes, rivers, and beaches be something we can be proud of, it will also give us an opportunity to educate the public on the importance of putting litter in its place and the impact a person’s actions can have on the environment. We must all do our part and be mindful of ensuring plastic is handled properly.
Finally, we’ll be focusing on much of what I discussed at our Convention, April 9 to 11 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. If you haven’t registered for the Convention yet, what are you waiting for?! We have put together a two day Residential Recycling Summit that will bring together stakeholders from across the value chain – recyclers, consumers, manufacturers, government officials, and others to discuss the issues and challenges before us. We’ll discuss issues for MRFs on how to develop better contracting practices, ocean marine debris issues as well and the need for recycled content in several hard hitting workshops. I encourage you register and make your voice heard.
Recycling is going through a fundamental transformation and we are at the vanguard of the change. Together, and through your ISRI membership, I’m confident we’ll find the solutions to make recycling an even stronger industry than it is today. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Plastics Division Chair