bale specifications set to ease recycling of plastics
The ever-expanding variety of new and creative
types of plastic packaging can create collection and recovery
difficulties for community recycling programs and material recovery
facilities (MRFs). The Association of Postconsumer Plastics Recyclers
(APR) is working to ease those concerns with the establishment
of new model bale specifications for the collection of “bulky
rigid plastics” and “tubs and lids.”
“These new model bale specifications allow the recycling industry
a common vocabulary,” explained APR rigid recycling director
Liz Bedard. “By clearly identifying commodities that have a growing
domestic market, we can begin to increase the collection and
recycling of these valuable plastic materials.”
The bale specifications come on the tail of a year-long study
evaluating types of non-bottle plastics bales being generated
in North America. “We regularly hear from community leaders that
their households are calling for more recycling opportunities
for materials like yogurt and margarine tubs. Those containers
are often made out of polypropylene, a resin very present in
the material stream and with a growing recycling market,” said
APR executive director Steve Alexander.
Since communities and business must be strategic in their decision
to expand collection of new materials, APR has initially focused
on model bale specifications for non-bottle rigid plastics that
have strong domestic markets. “Just as communities are interested
in expanding the types of materials they collect, our business
and industry partners are also interested in additional clean
recyclable materials. Bulky plastic items such as five gallon
buckets are a good and steady source of recoverable and recyclable
material,” explained APR chairman Scott Saunders.
APR looks to educate the recycling industry about the new model
bale specifications through a variety of actions including the
APR website, webinars, market lists and case studies.
These two specifications are the first in a series of new model
specifications for bales that contain non-bottle rigid plastics.
APR will continue ongoing work to secure specifications for other
material streams that are primed for steady growth.