Recycling Group Turns to Manufacturers to Boost Demand for Recycled Plastic

A new campaign by the Association of Plastic Recyclers aims to drive demand for recycled plastics by getting manufacturers to commit to requiring recycled material in common items they purchase for their facilities, like trash cans and transport packaging. Several major companies have signed on.

Sometimes, to build demand for your industry’s services, you have to get a little proactive.

That appears to be the strategy behind a new campaign by the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) to encourage manufacturers to commit to using common “work in process” (WIP) items that contain recycled plastic material, or polyolefin postconsumer resin (PCR).

“This program will drive demand for broad specification PCR produced from mixed residential plastics,” Liz Bedard, director of the APR Rigid Plastic Recycling Program, said in a news release. Items that can be made with PCR and are commonly used in manufacturing facilities include “durable goods such as crates, tote boxes, cans, pails, drums, trash or recycle bins, pallets, transport packaging, and other items.”

The Recycling Demand Champions campaign has teamed with a number of well-known companies, including Campbell’s Soup, Coca-Cola North America, Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., Procter & Gamble, and Target Corporation. (Notably, Target is the first major retail member of APR.)

The companies will regularly report their progress to APR, which the association will aggregate, anonymize, and publicly report to document the increased use of PCR in manufacturing.

“We know there are increased environmental and economic benefits that come from recycling, but only if the materials recycled are made into new products or goods,” APR President Steve Alexander said in the release. “Any company looking to catalyze those benefits can have a positive impact on the recycling system by directing those recycled resins into WIP goods that they are already purchasing on a regular basis.”

Alexander added that the current participants “represent a starting point” and that the group hopes to expand the program to any interested party around the industry—with the goal of announcing a larger set of participants at APR’s Plastics Recycling Conference in February.

(Kemter/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

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

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