The Chinese central government banned the import of
While these are undeniably problems that must be addressed in the short term, speakers at the Spotlight on Plastics during ISRI2018, the annual conference
Maite Quinn, business development and marketing manager for Sims Municipal Recycling, New York, moderated the session, which featured Danielle Easdale of First Star Recycling, Omaha, Nebraska; J. Scott Saunders of K.W. Plastics Recycling Division, Troy, Alabama; and Steve Alexander of the Association of Plastic Recyclers (ARP), Washington.
Alexander said the APR is operating under the assumption that China is not going to come back as a destination for
The APR is engaging in customized brand owner training programs with the goal of reducing the amount of contamination in plastic packaging. Alexander cited Snapple, which introduced a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle to replace its glass bottle, as an example of the organization’s success in this area. The brand originally kept its aluminum lid when it converted to PET bottles; however, the APR has convinced the company to change the closure, he said.
Regarding communities that have restricted the plastics they collect for recycling, Alexander said, “Once you pull something out of the recycling stream, it’s hard to get it back
Saunders said K.W. Plastics processes some 500 million pounds of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP) annually, with most of its volume going into traditional markets where color is not a consideration.
“Once you pull something out of the recycling stream, it’s hard to get it back in in an acceptable fashion.” – Steve Alexander of the Association of Plastic Recyclers
He added that K.W. is “typically short on
Saunders sees China’s actions as a “very large opportunity” for domestic processors. “We have the capacity and markets available,” he says of K.W. “We are a ready, willing and able market for every pound you’ll generate.”
However, some plastics, such as flexible packaging, will continue to be challenging to recycle, and that’s where the Hefty EnergyBag Program could prove helpful.
Easdale said while much of the EnergyBag material First Star handles is destined for pyrolysis, the company is testing other applications, such as recycling it into fence posts and wallboard.