The Association of Plastic Recyclers

Your Bottle Means Jobs: Recycling's Impact on Jobs in the Carolinas

Samuel Adams' Founder Jim Koch once stated, "They don't teach you this in Harvard Business School, but it's all about people. Everything happens by, with or through people. Nothing just happens on its own."

In the recycling world, it's no different. From where I sit at the SC Department of Commerce, without a workforce, the bottles and jugs that are put in carts across the Carolinas won't be recycled.

I serve as volunteer staff to the Carolinas Plastics Recycling Council (CPRC), a public/private initiative whose goal is to increase plastics recycling in North and South Carolina. When we initially sat down with government and plastic recycling industry representatives, we all quickly realized that we need to do more outreach and awareness building. Our objective was to communicate the economic impact of recycling, so we came up with the premise of when "You recycle, I work."Transitioning that premise into a call to action, the Your Bottle Means Jobs campaign makes the linkage between recycling and the jobs created. Indeed, if each household in the Carolinas increased its plastic bottle recycling by just two more bottles a week, that simple act could create 300 new jobs across the recycling chain.

The CPRC was excited to partner with APR over the summer to create a video on HDPE recycling. Our underlying goal was to highlight the "Real People. Real Jobs." message and show that the Carolinas have a strong recycling workforce.More than 3,500 people are employed in plastic recycling manufacturing jobs across our two states.

Featuring a short :30 second video and a longer 2:34 second video, the "Real People. Real Jobs." segments not only show the process of recycling but also the people who make recycling work. For instance, Alden Blassingame is one of our features in the upcoming HDPE video "Real People. Real Jobs." which releases Oct 19, 2017 at the APR Fall Meeting in Pittsburgh. Alden works at Plastic Revolutions, Inc. in Reidsville, NC and LOVES IT!

The Your Bottle Means Jobs campaign wants individuals, businesses and other establishments to take on the plastic bottle recycling challenge by recycling just two more bottles a week.

The release of the videos comes on top of the recent successful Your Bottle Means Jobs debut in the Raleigh Durham region, measuring a 2 percent increase in tons of all types of plastic bottles sold by local recycling processors during March through May when compared to the same period in 2016. The 2 percent increase in the plastic bottles recycled over the previous year– from 1,323 tons in 2016 to 1,349 tons in 2017 is the equivalent of over 520,000 PET and HDPE bottles that can be recycled into new products like t-shirts, textiles, plastic pipe and other goods produced in the Carolinas by "Real People" in "Real Jobs".Recycle! We hope you enjoy the video, short and long, and the message it sends to people all over the Carolinas and beyond.

Click here to Watch Your Bottle Means Jobs' Video short. *Check back after October 19th to check out the full video!

Chantal Fryer

Director, Recycling Market Development

SC Department of Commerce 

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