The Association of Plastic Recyclers

Earth Day 2020: Recycling and the Circular Economy

On Earth Day, just like every day, APR is the "Voice of Plastics Recycling." We work with our members at every link of the plastics industry supply chain to strengthen the circular economy and create a more sustainable, less wasteful world.

This year's Earth Day theme is climate action. It is abundantly clear that an effective recycling chain is of paramount importance in achieving climate and economic sustainability. Today, I invite all our members to take a moment to explore how, together, we are making a difference.

Let's start at the beginning. APR works with brands and manufacturers across the country and around the world to ensure that products and packaging are made to be recycled. Our APR Design® Guide for Plastics Recyclability, coupled with our training programs and testing protocols, give companies confidence that the items they make can be effectively recycled.

But it's not enough for products to be recyclable. We also need to get those products back to be manufactured into new products. That's why we advocate for improvements in infrastructure and technology so that the changing plastic stream can be effectively processed.

These investments are a vital link in the circular economy. When companies have access to enough high-quality post-consumer resin (PCR), they can use that resin to create new products, a process that we know is less carbon intensive than creating products from virgin plastic. Using recycled plastics lowers greenhouse gas emissions, reduces energy use, prevents waste, and conserves our planet's limited resources.

Finally, APR provides structure and support to grow market demand for recycled content by certifying PCR through our APR Postconsumer Resin Certification Program and by recognizing the companies - APR's Demand Champions - who do their part to use more of it.

One timely note: In this uncertain time, it is more important than ever that brands maintain their commitments to using recycled content. After all, this demand for PCR is the through line that keeps the entire recycling chain moving.

Recycling works. We see it happening every day thanks to the tireless efforts of our members. The recycling supply chain may be complex but the mission is simple: conserve the Earth's resources and reduce waste. With APR programs and guidance, companies can make recyclable products, collect and process those products, and make new products from recycled materials.

On Earth Day, we take a moment to thank all the reclaimers, MRF workers, recycling haulers, packaging designers, product manufacturers, and others committed to the recycling value chain. Together, we are safeguarding our planet's climate and resources not just for ourselves, but for generations to come.

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