As Plastics Recycling Industry Grows, Association Follows Suit

A recent American Chemistry Council report says that post-consumer plastic recycling has surged over the past decade. One association that represents recyclers has seen similar growth over the same period.

We’re recycling more plastic than ever—and that has meant good things for the associations that represent the recycling industry.

A report from the American Chemistry Council [PDF] released last month highlighted a dramatic 74 percent increase in collection of post-consumer plastic film (which includes plastic bags and packaging) between 2005 and 2013. In 2013 alone, the industry saw an 11 percent year-over-year increase.

“We are pleased to see such strong growth in the recycling of polyethylene wraps,” ACC Vice President of Plastics Steve Russell said in a news release. “These increases highlight the critical role that grocers, retailers, and other businesses play in collecting this valuable material.”

We’ve been on a growth trend of about 10 to 15 percent a year for the last five or six years.

One association representing those directly involved in the recycling space is seeing growth as a result of the industry’s expansion. The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) told Plastics News that its membership has nearly tripled to 140 members over the past eight years—and the group has more than $1 million in annual revenue.

“We’ve been on a growth trend of about 10 to 15 percent a year for the last five or six years,” APR Executive Director Steve Alexander told the publication. “About eight years ago we had about 53 members, so we’re growing. And that’s a good thing.”

Among the things that have helped boost the industry in recent years has been the Wrap Recycling Action Program (WRAP), an awareness campaign aimed at increasing plastics recycling. The campaign, led by ACC’s Flexible Film Recycling Group (FFRG), also includes APR.

APR Chairman Scott Saunders says that his association’s goal is to continue growing—and to leverage that growth to build up its offerings.

“This is our first year above a million dollars. Now our challenge to the board is how are we going to get to $2 million,” Saunders told Plastics News. “We feel like that’s the revenue level that we need to be to finance the programs that are important to our association.”


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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