The Association of Plastic Recyclers Celebrates America Recycles Day
Today, November 15th, the Association of Plastics Recyclers (APR) is excited to mark the 26th annual America Recycles Day, the only nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. This day is especially important to APR as a U.S.- based, international non-profit and the only North American organization focused exclusively on improving recycling for plastics.
On this day and every day, APR is committed to educating and encouraging producers and consumers about best practices for recycling plastics. Along with reducing and reusing, plastics recycling is a central solution to ending plastic pollution, conserving natural resources, and reducing climate pollution. Recycling matters not just for our health and our environment, but also as an economic engine for US manufacturing and building clean, resilient domestic supply chains. Together, when we recycle more, we can all use less.
Effective recycling involves creating a truly circular economy for plastic, where consumers can place items into recycling bins and know that those items will be collected, sorted, processed, and remanufactured into products made from recycled materials that consumers can choose at the shelf.
This circular economy for plastic requires both, strong supply of plastic material that is compatible with today's recycling infrastructure and strong demand for new products made from post-consumer resin (PCR). APR programs support every link of the plastic recycling chain, including driving both supply and demand.
First, let's look at supply. For APR, the only good kind of plastic packaging is recyclable plastic packaging, which is the core of key APR Programs. We firmly believe that companies want to design packaging that is recyclable and sustainable. The APR Design® Guide for Plastics Recyclability is our free self-service tool to ensure plastic packaging is compatible with the North American recycling system, and has thousands of users from across the globe every year.It is the gold standard for circular design, referred to by Ellen Macarthur Foundation, U.S. Plastics Pact, and more.
For companies that make or use plastic packaging outside of North America, APR has recently updated its Global Design Catalog to include technical design criteria for 12 countries and regions as well as on-pack labeling requirements. Harmonizing design for recyclability across the globe can be challenging, so this tool is a great resource for US-based teams.
The APR Design® for Recyclability Training Program demystifies the recycling process and aligns companies internally on why it is important. During the in-person or online sessions our experts walk teams through the design process, offering customized guidance to meet the unique needs of companies and their products.APR has delivered over 45 training sessions and reached 3000+ employees that make or use plastic packaging across the U.S.
The APR Design® for Recyclability Recognition Program provides third-party recognition that a package or packaging component has been designed to the highest standards of recyclability according to the APR Design® Guide. Not only does it celebrate the hard work and investment of companies who design for recyclability, but it also helps brand and procurement teams easily identify recyclable packaging. Over 120 companies have received APR Design® Recognition, and it has led to the widespread adoption of impactful innovations like pressure sensitive adhesives, NIR sortable black colorants and crystallizable PET shrink sleeves.
Of course, recycling does not stop at the bin, and neither does APR. While we work on the supply of recyclable plastic, we also work on the pull of demand for recycled content. The APR PCR Certification program provides companies and customers confidence that the packaging they buy truly includes post-consumer recycled content, which is necessary to build a reliable and robust PCR market.
Public policy is essential to improving the circularity of plastics, and APR will continue to be at the forefront as one of the strongest industry voices promoting smart policy solutions focused on increasing supply, improving material quality, and strengthening market demand. APR supports EPR for packaging and paper, and recycling refunds (bottle deposits) as the most effective policies to increase state and national recycling rates and material quality. APR also strongly supports minimum recycled content requirements as priority tools to strengthen recycling markets and reduce the environmental footprint of packaging. Together, these three policies address the most pressing supply and demand challenges to scaling plastics recycling, and APR is working at the global, national, and state levels to promote these essential policy solutions.
On America Recycles Day, and every day, APR is working to build a world with a circular economy for plastic. APR is the voice of plastic recyclers. APR members work at every link of the recycling chain from initial design to eventual remanufacturing. We are the boots on the ground dedicated to making recycling work every day across the United States. In a world where we recycle more, we can all use less – less virgin plastic and less of our world's resources to make it. APR's programs support what is going into the recycling system, what is coming out, and every link of the recycling supply chain build a better ecosystem now and for the future.