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Plastics Division Priorities and Projects

Over the past several months ISRI has put into place a strategy to help members weather the storm of negative attention by developing tools, workshops, and other items that can be used to help get information they need to make informed decisions. Projects planned or already underway include:

Supporting The Plastics Recycling Industry Through Increased Education
ISRI developed and organized a workshop that was held at the Plastics Recycling Conference in Washington, DC, March 11 to 13. The workshop called, “Life After National Sword” featured several ISRI members and staff who all spoke of their experiences adjusting to the China import ban. Bob Cappadonna, Co-Chair of the MRF Council moderated the session and led an interesting and engaging Q & A session. ISRI members Sunil Bagaria, Chair Plastics Division and Keith Ristau, CEO of Far West Fibers discussed the activities they took to find markets for materials they previously sent to China. Adina Renee Adler, Asst. VP of Government Relations, described the new opportunities recyclers have in emerging markets that are accepting plastic and other scrap materials. Finally, John Caturano, Senior Sustainability Manger for Nestle Waters described how Nestle is making their products more sustainable.

Overall, the workshop allowed ISRI to extend its brand and continue its work to be seen as a thought leader in the plastics recycling industry. Being seen as a thought leader is one of several strategies ISRI is using to attract new members and expand the membership base into categories we have not pursued before.

In addition to the workshop, ISRI had a membership booth and through the booth, staff was able to continue its efforts to attract new members to the organization as well as network with other stakeholders in the industry.

Partnership with APR on the development of a 2D/3D Sorting Protocol
In early March, APR approached ISRI and requested we participate in the final phase of a comprehensive study meant to examine the influence and interaction of parameters that effect 2d-3d separation and use that information to provide design guidance for the packaging industry. At the Board meeting in April, the Board of Directors approved the expenditure of $40,000 to participate in the study. A workgroup comprised of paper and plastic recyclers, MRFs, equipment manufacturers as well as support staff has been formed and is meeting regularly on a bi-weekly basis. Information will be shared with ISRI’s membership as progress ensues.

Support of Industry Stakeholders

Throughout 2018, ISRI worked with other stakeholders that represent different elements of the plastics value chain to provide resources which helped support the industry.

This was done by:

  • Supporting Association of Plastic Recyclers Demand Champions Program by reaching out to our consumer members and asking them to be part of this program.
  • Partnering with the Recycling Partnership to host a workshop at ISRI’s 2019 Annual Convention.

Creation of Deliverables to Support Plastic and MRF Members

Through the direction and support of the Plastic Division, staff has created several projects designed to support plastic and MRF members. Among these are:

  • Plastic Resin Identification Guide

    The purpose of this project is to give plastic recyclers a set of tools that will help them understand the types of resins they work with. It will give them information on the most common markets to either source or sell materials, proper sortation and handling protocols,  a brief description of how plastics are used in the marketplace, as well as safety information and how and where to find accredited testing labs.

    A timeline has been created with work expected to commence in early May. As of this writing, a Request for Proposal has been drafted and will be sent out to several consultants within the coming weeks.

  • MRF Best Practices Guide

    A committee has been formed of MRF Council members that will develop a “Best Practices Guide” which will highlight several best practices related to developing contracts as well as operations. The Committee is expected to commence work shortly.
Waterway Cleanup Project
The project is designed to help ISRI members connect with their communities and encourage them to clean up rivers, lakes, beaches and other waterways that may be contaminated with plastic waste and other pollutions. Staff has held conversations with The Ocean Conservancy and will partner with them to coordinate cleanup events across the country. Staff has also briefed the Chapter President’s Council on the project and they have shown general interest and support. In the coming weeks, staff will solidify details between the membership and the Ocean Conservancy and schedule several cleanups to begin this spring.

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