The Association of Plastic Recyclers

2020: Year in Review

Success Despite Unprecedented Challenges: An Overview of the Past Year at APR

For many of us, last year's Plastics Recycling Conference was the final in-person event attended before the onset of COVID-19 and what proved to be a year full of challenges that no one could have predicted.

The distribution of vaccines brings us optimism for the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we look forward to turning this corner, we are taking this time to reflect on some of the accomplishments that APR and our members was fortunate enough to achieve in the past year despite the odds we all faced.

How PCR Certification Works (click to expand)
  • APR welcomed 66 new members since January 1, 2020.

  • We transitioned 3 of our meetings from in-person to virtual in light of the ongoing pandemic with record attendance.

  • APR launched the PCR Certification Program.

  • The new and improved APR website was launched which includes an updated platform for The APR Design® Guide for Plastics Recyclability that is more user-friendly, addresses previously unaddressed items, with clearer, more direct language.

  • 34 companies received APR Critical Guidance Recognition for innovations including: sleeve labels, heat transfer and in-mold labels, pressure sensitive labels, HDPE tubes, barrier solutions for bottles, an outer layer for HDPE bottles, PET aerosol spray bottle systems, and HDPE Bottle-to-Bottle recognitions.

  • Conducted 1 on site full day APR Design® Guide Training Program session prior to shutdown for the pandemic before transitioning to a virtual program which allowed APR to reach an even larger audience within some global companies. We completed 8 virtual sessions with audiences throughput the US, Canada, India, Europe and the far East.

  • The PE Film Critical Guidance Protocol was published, and Avery Dennison was the first company to achieve Critical Guidance Recognition for a pressure sensitive label substrate for film packaging,
  • The Film Committee engaged in a benchmarking test program with Iowa State University's Polymer and Food Protection Consortium.
  • Working groups advanced substantial programs within the PET Technical Committee including: oxygen barriers, virgin PET color stability, and labels.
  • Olefin Technical working groups also advanced substantial programs including: Design for recycling of HDPE and PP squeeze tubes, standardizing Design for Recycling for black HDPE and PP packaging, evaluating toughness of plastics when employing Critical Guidance evaluations, the impact of PP in HDPE, and unmet needs for sortation when recycling HDPE and PP.
  • Developed the foundation for a new program at APR where we will be able to confirm that packaging design features meet APR Design® Guidance.
APR Recycling Demand Champions Year 3 Report (click to expand)
  • APR announced the impact of a successful third year of the APR Recycling Demand Champions Campaign which included 32 companies that boosted demand by 175,480,621 lbs.

  • APR formed a partnership with NERC to expand the APR Recycling Demand Champion Campaign to public entities and State Recycling Organizations.

  • APR's Foundation for Plastic Recycling developed a new consumer education initiative, Buy Recycled, encouraging consumers to buy recycled products. Visit the website at www.BuyRecycledNow.org.

  • APR launched a plastics recycling podcast called Recycled Content. Make sure to check it out wherever you get your podcasts!

  • APR's social media presence continued to experience exponential growth with >658% increase in LinkedIn followers, >50% increase in Facebook followers, and >43% increase in Twitter followers.


Plastics recycling is in a transformative moment. The pandemic will have a lasting legacy on our industry, but we must move forward.

On behalf of all of us at APR, we thank you for your continued support of APR and your commitment to the success of plastics recycling. Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.

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