The Association of Plastic Recyclers

APR Recycling Demand Champion Campaign: Proactively Building Demand for Recycled Plastics

The headlines about the rippling effect of China's National Sword continue. Recycling facilities left with material. China's Sword cutting deep into recycling. Lasting effects of China's Sword. Where will all the plastics go?

Although these headlines are of great concern, The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) believes that China's action serves as a wake-up call to the need for the long overdue necessary investment in collection and sortation infrastructure in North America, so that we do not continue to be reliant on a volatile export market for industry success. There is a common misconception being perpetuated by the recent Chinese regulations that all plastics go to Asia to be recycled.This is certainly not true.

Much of the plastic material put into curbside bins goes to APR member companies to be recycled and manufactured into new items. Plastic recyclers need, and have the ability and capacity, to sort and process more good material. According to the Plastics News ranking of Top Plastics Recyclers in 2017, KW Plastics reprocessed 570 million pounds of material, Greenline Polymers reprocessed 285 million, and Custom Polymers reprocessed 250.8 million.

The material is out there, the key is market demand.If consumer brand companies and other manufacturers will commit to purchase postconsumer resin (PCR) to include in their packaging and products, reclaimers will process more material, and be willing to pay higher prices for bales.If MRFs are guaranteed a good price, they can invest in creating cleaner bales.Again, the key is market demand.

APR, the leading international trade organization representing the plastics recycling industry, recently announced new participants in a campaign designed to expand market demand for recycled resins and improve plastic recycling in North America.

The APR Recycling Demand Champions Campaign plays a prominent role in expanding the market for residential plastics, driving investment, increasing supply and producing more high quality PCR.The initial phase of the campaign focused on purchasing new volume PCR through "work in process" (WIP) durable goods, but has expanded to include any and all NEW applications for PCR.

"Although the initial phase of the campaign focused on WIP durable goods, such as pallets and crates, we quickly realized the opportunity to expand the program to include any new application for PCR," explained Liz Bedard, Director of the APR Rigid Plastic Recycling Program. "Through commitments to purchase WIP durable goods manufactured with broad specification PCR, or develop a new application for PCR, APR Recycling Demand Champions will make a significant and measurable impact in strengthening plastic recycling markets."

APR is pleased to announce the new APR Recycling Demand Champions:Nestle Waters North America, Denton Plastics, and Champion Polymer Recycling.These join the companies that committed in October 2017: Berry Global, Campbells Soup Co., Coca-Cola North America, Envision Plastics, Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., KW Plastics, Merlin Plastics, Plastipak/Clean Tech Inc., The Procter & Gamble Company and Target Corp.

Demand Champions sign a commitment letter to identify and utilize WIP items with PCR content in their facilities, or detail another new application for PCR that will be developed within a year. As the program adds more participants, this will increase the demand for postconsumer recycled resins.

"The APR Recycling Demand Champions Campaign has been met with overwhelming interest," says Steve Alexander, President of APR. "One manufacturer recently indicated intent to replace 250,000 wood pallets with pallets made with PCR, leading to more than 2 million pounds of increased demand in that one application alone."

We anticipate this will become a seminal program of APR going forward, and we commend the companies that demonstrate their dedication to the plastics recycling industry through commitment to this campaign. APR will continue working to expand participation in this program in partnership with brand owners, retailers, trade organizations, and other members of the recycling value chain.

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