- The Association of Plastics Recyclers (APR) released new guidelines to help increase the quality and amount of material in the plastics recycling stream.
- The guide is broken down into resin categories and advises manufacturers on best practices for color, dimensions, labels, inks and adhesive that will be the most easily recycled.
- Companies can also sign up for customized training programs to get more information on packaging design and learn more about the recycling process.
APR reported that more than 3 billion pounds of post-consumer plastic bottles were recycled in 2014, up from the year before, due in part to the expanding use of single-stream collection.
While this increase is positive for the industry, it also means that recyclers have a wider variety of materials to process.
The definition of "recyclable" provided by APR outlines a few key criteria. At least 60% of consumers or communities should have access to a collection system that accepts the product. The item must be compatible with standard material recovery systems such as single-stream and dual-stream facilities, deposit container systems, grocery store rigid plastic and film collection systems. It should also be possible to process the material cost-effectively into a feedstock that can be used in identifiable new products.
Engaging manufacturers is a logical step toward increasing the recyclability of products and raising diversion rates, though some say the idea needs to go further. Proponents of extended producer responsibility measures, which make manufacturers financially accountable for their product's disposal in a variety of ways, say that's the only way to affect change. Other companies, such as TerraCycle, have taken a different approach of finding creative ways to recycle whatever products are on the market.