Re|focus event looks to drive demand for recycled materials

June 10, 2015,  Washington, D.C.

by William R. Carteaux & Kim Holmes

SPI plans new event for April 2016 in Orlando

As professionals in plastics manufacturing, it is incumbent upon us to lead the industry in developing strategies that drive innovation, particularly when faced with an issue like recycling that affects the entire supply chain. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency figures suggest that only 9 percent of plastic was recycled from the municipal solid waste stream in 2012 (latest figures available). SPI thinks it’s time to create strategies that will help drive demand for recycled materials, thus we’ve launched the Re|focus Recycling Summit & Expo.

The potential to grow the use of recycled plastics in manufacturing is enormous. The U.S. plastics industry is the 3rd largest manufacturing industry in the U.S., producing nearly $400 billion in products. Frankly, it is impossible to look at those numbers and fail to see the potential to drive demand and create new opportunities for the recycling industry. Reducing supply chain obstacles and eliminating manufacturing barriers so we can make that happen in a meaningful way is the goal of Re|focus, slated for April 2016 in Orlando, Fla.

We’ve discussed this topic with many of you, and we think we agree that Re|focus fulfills an unmet niche in the recycling conference market. SPI plans to join brand owners and processors, as well as others who have never engaged in the recycling conversation for discussions that emphasize solutions. The event will challenge attendees to “refocus” on product design and manufacturing with an eye toward recycled content, design for recycling and driving sustainability in manufacturing. Creating a stronger market pull for recycled content will directly benefit recyclers and municipal collection efforts.

Industry leaders who look closely at what we have planned will see that SPI has conceived a fresh, new approach to addressing sustainability issues. With the recycling rate having been essentially stagnant for the past 10 years, doing more of the same will only produce the same results. It’s time for a new approach, new conversations and new tools for the industry. It’s time for Re|focus. We will no longer wait for the plastics industry to join the recycling industry’s conversation; instead we will take the conversation to them.  It is also important to note that all funds generated from the Re|focus Summit & Expo will be reinvested into the industry’s recovery and sustainability efforts.

If you have questions about this event, contact us. Re|focus is an exciting, innovative approach to one our industry’s most critical issues. To learn more, please visit

William R. Carteaux

SPI President and CEO

Kim Holmes

SPI Senior Director of Recycling and Diversions

Africa’s first Bottle-2-Bottle plastic recycling plant opens its doors in Wadeville, South Africa

The first Bottle-2-Bottle recycling plant in Africa, with an investment of R75-million and the capability to produce resin that will be suitable for the carbonated drink sector, was officially opened by Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa in Wadeville, Johannesburg on Monday, 11 May.
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She was joined at the opening ceremony by notable guests from government and the PET industry including Therese Gearhart, president of Coca-Cola Southern Africa, the joint managing director of Extrupet, Chandru Wadhwani and PETCO, the industry body for PET recycling in South Africa.

The plant, installed by Extrupet, is the first on the continent to use a Coca-Cola approved technology for carbonated soft drink bottles thus enabling the closure of the loop in the biggest sector in the beverage market.

The 3000m² PhoenixPET plant, equipped with Starlinger technology, will supply an additional 14 000 tonnes of PET resin per year to the PET packaging industry. It will eventually divert an additional 22 000 tonnes of post-consumer PET bottles from landfills each year, reducing resource consumption, creating jobs and assisting industry in meeting its target of a 50% recycling rate for 2015.

Cheri Scholtz, PETCO CEO lauds the milestone for the PET industry and says, “PETCO and its shareholders are proud to congratulate Extrupet on the opening of the new plant. We believe it will benefit the local value chain and will ensure the long term viability of post-consumer PET recycling in South Africa.”

She adds, “The cooperation within the PET industry to reach a common goal of integrating recycling into product life cycles is showing very notable results: we have reached a point where 49% of all post-consumer PET bottles are currently recycled – no less than 1.5 billion bottles were recycled in 2014 supporting 44 000 informal income opportunities in PET collection.”

Wadhwani attributes the project’s success to their loyal customers, their shareholders continued commitment as well as the long standing relationship with PETCO and says that the facility has the capability to provide a level of quality assurance to meet the growing local and regional demand in the bottle and thermoforming industry for environmentally-friendly and sustainable packaging.“PhoenixPET is to be viewed as a bench-mark for other recycled polymers as well as packaging mediums aspiring to attain a cradle-to-cradle solution for sustainable packaging.”

The chairperson of PETCO and Franchise technical director of Coca-Cola Southern Africa, Casper Durandt concurs, “We are extremely excited about the fact that South Africa will be the first country on the continent to use PET for Coca-Cola products. We have made every effort to ensure that we maintain the highest quality standards. We thank our partners in PETCO, who represent the full value chain: virgin resin manufacturing, converters, bottlers, brand owners and the retail sector, for ten years of sustained support that has brought us this far. We also thank Extrupet for a great partnership.”

With the Bottle-2-Bottle expansions, it is estimated that an additional 15 000 income opportunities will be created for the informal sector collecting additional material to supply the plant. This supports the green job creation goals entrenched in the National Waste Management Strategy and the Department of Science and Technology’s National Waste Research, Development and Innovation Roadmap.

For more information about the Bottle-2-Bottle initiative, phone Chandru Wadhwani at Extrupet on +27 11 865-8360.

Nampak issues recycled HDPE rallying cry in the UK

Friday, April 17 2015 Paul Hill – Plastics in Packaging


Packaging manufacturer Nampak has called for the dairy industry to maintain its support towards the recycled plastics markets amid a period of uncertainty. The African company has insisted that its support for recycled material and the ensuing environmental benefits have not wavered.

Recycled high density polyethylene (rHDPE) is a widely-used material in the production of milk bottles. However, falling oil prices have led to reports of financial issues at the UK’s largest rHDPE supplier Closed Loop Recycling, with stories circulating that certain dairy companies have switched back to virgin HDPE.

“At Nampak we feel very passionately about upholding the recycled plastics industry in the UK, and we want others to join us in supporting this initiative,” said Eric Collins, managing director of Nampak Plastics. “We have worked hard to make the industry greener and more sustainable through continuously pushing levels of rHDPE in our bottles, and levels are currently at an all time high.

“This issue has been at the very heart of the Nampak business right from the very beginning when we worked with recycling suppliers to introduce rHDPE into milk bottles as a world-first. We will continue to support the industry despite the uncertain economic future and pledge to maintain levels of rHDPE in our bottles.”

Nampak claimed the Green Product of the Year award at the British Engineering Excellence Awards in 2013.

California bills target recycled content minimums

By Jared Paben, Plastics Recycling Update

April 15, 2015

Legislation in front of California lawmakers would require beverage companies to use at least 10 percent recycled plastic in bottles if they want to continue receiving discounts on fees they pay to the state.

The state Senate’s Committee on Environmental Quality will hold a hearing today on one bill, while an Assembly committee is set to consider a separate bill that would also address recycled content in glass.

The Senate bill, sponsored by environmental group Californians Against Waste, would require manufacturers of plastic beverage containers sold in the state to prove they’re using at least 10 percent recycled content starting in 2017. It would apply to all resins.

California’s bottle bill requires manufacturers to pay a recycling processing fee to CalRecycle, the state agency that manages waste and recycling concerns. CalRecycle then submits payments to recycling companies to subsidize their costs for recycling containers. However, if certain container diversion rates are achieved, the state reduces the amount manufacturers must pay. It then dips into state funds from unclaimed deposits to make up the difference when it cuts the check to recycling companies.

Under the Senate bill, manufacturers would have to hit the recycled content minimums if they want to continue receiving the discounts. It would apply to containers produced out of state as well.

It’s not clear what the average recycled content is for containers in California, according to a bill analysis. Coca-Cola uses, on average, 6 percent recycled content for PET packaging, while PepsiCo reports using 10 percent for beverage containers, the analysis states. Nestle states that five of its brands use a range from 50 percent to 100 percent recycled PET.

A separate bill in the California Assembly would require a 10 percent minimum recycled content for PET food and beverage containers starting in July 2016. Assembly Bill 1447 would also extend the current 35 percent minimum recycled content requirement on glass all bottles filled in California, not just those made in California.

The bill would help PET recycling companies struggling to compete with makers of virgin PET because of low oil prices, according to Californians Against Waste.

“California recycled material processors and recycled product makers are starting to lose market share to out of state/country ‘virgin’ producers,” according to Californians Against Waste.

The Assembly’s Natural Resource Committee is expected to hear the bill on April 27.

Read the original article here:

Survey Shows Strong Public Support for Recycled Content in Plastic Bottles and Legislation to Mandate Recycled Content

Published in Packaging Europe News  |  March 31, 2015

The Resource Association, the trade association for the reprocessing and recycling industries and their supply chain, has released the results of a survey of public opinion conducted by respected pollsters YouGov, showing clear public support for the use of recycled content in plastic bottles and legislation to require manufacturers to use recycled content.

In an online survey of 2,006 people across Great Britain, 68% of adults supported an increase in the price of a two pint plastic milk bottle by 0.1p in order to ensure that bottles were made from at least 30% recycled material and also recycled after use (38% strongly support, 30% tend to support). Only 10% of adults were opposed.

In the same survey, 71% of adults would support the Government introducing legislation to require manufacturers/producers using a minimum amount of recycled content in products with plastic packaging (37% strongly support, 34% tend to support). Only 6% of adults were opposed.

Ray Georgeson, Chief Executive of the Resource Association said:  “The great British public ‘gets’ recycling, and is sending a clear signal to industry and retailers alike – they support the UK plastics recycling industry and would support the fractional additional cost of 0.1p on a two pint plastic milk bottle that it will take to sustain reprocessing of recycled plastic milk bottles in the UK. Interestingly, the public also support the idea of legislating to ensure that recycled content is used in plastic packaging.”

“The decision-makers in the supply chain must take note, wake up and act to support UK reprocessing through the storm of low oil prices and the turbulence this is causing to the sustainability of the UK plastic milk bottle processing infrastructure.”

“The public agrees with many in the industry that 0.1p a bottle is clearly a small price to pay for a sustainable recycling sector. It requires nothing more than those who made this important voluntary commitment – a commitment upon which our reprocessing infrastructure has been built – to fulfil their pledges under the Dairy Roadmap and Courtauld Commitment. They could do it this working day, and stem the growing uncertainty.”

For more information, visit

UK Recycled plastics markets experiencing ‘unprecedented challenges’

Original Post By Annie Kane | Resource – Daily news and features for the waste to resources industry

Read the original article here:  |  20 March 2015

Industry stakeholders are urgently calling on retailers to switch back to using recycled plastic packaging, as the market is currently experiencing ‘unprecedented challenges’.

Recycled plastics markets experiencing ‘unprecedented challenges’

 Resource Minister Dan Rogerson held a meeting with major stakeholders in the plastics recycling supply chain at his office at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) on Tuesday (18 March), to discuss the need for continued commitment to recycled plastic packaging in the face of challenges facing the plastics reprocessing industry as a result of falling oil prices.

The price of oil has dropped to under US$60 (£40) a barrel for the first time in five years, thus making the price of virgin plastic fall and leading some businesses to switch back from recycled polymers to virgin plastic. (As a result of this, and ‘operational challenges and unfavourable market conditions’, one plastic reprocessor, ECO Plastics – now known as ECOPlastics Recycling – sought acquisition last year following financial difficulties.)

As such, Rogerson called the meeting on Tuesday to discuss the market challenges and voice his support for recycled plastic packaging.

At the meeting, which included representatives of the packaging, dairy, resource management and reprocessing industries, stakeholders also committed to improve their recycling rates further under the voluntary Courtauld Commitment and the Dairy Roadmap, which commits dairy farmers to increase the recycled content in plastic milk bottles.

Rogerson commented: “The plastic packaging supply chain has worked very hard to increase the amount of packaging being recycled, with the full support of government.

“I welcome commitment from across the supply chain to deliver on the existing agreement. This week’s meeting makes clear our commitment to go even further, continuing to embrace new technology to make sure more recycled plastic is used throughout the supply chain.

“This industry-wide commitment to recycling is delivering real environmental benefits and also creating jobs, helping to build a stronger UK economy.”

Calls for an ‘urgent switch back to rHDPE’

Members of the waste and resources industry have welcomed Rogerson’s support, but have urgently called for retailers to ‘switch back’ to using recycled plastic to help protect the ‘vital UK recycling infrastructure’.

Ray Georgeson, Chief Executive of the Resource Association, a trade association for the reprocessing and recycling industries and their supply chain, commented: “Dan Rogerson’s intervention this week was timely and necessary, and we are grateful to him for his critical attention to the problems that plastics reprocessors are facing as a result of low oil prices and the switch back to virgin polymer by some of the major players in the supply chain.”

However, he warned: “The meeting heard many general messages of support for the continued use of recycled content in line with the commitments made under the Dairy Roadmap and Courtauld Commitment, facilitated by WRAP. However, these were not backed by specifics in the meeting and, frankly, warm words are not enough.

“We call on all the signatories of the Dairy Roadmap and Courtauld Commitment to honour their commitments to recycled content, but this now means more is needed than merely a general statement of intent – it needs an urgent switch back to specifying rHDPE [recycled high-density polyethylene] with immediate effect.”

Georgeson added that while there are “cost pressures” on all parts of the supply chain, reprocessors are “carrying the cost burden and most of the risk”.

As such, he said a long-term view is needed, and “a reminder of the sustainability commitments made by retailers and major brand owners is now necessary, along with this urgent appeal to take the long view, stand firm with the reprocessors, help them weather the storm and protect this vital UK recycling infrastructure for many years to come”.

He warned: “If we lose it for the sake of 0.1p on the cost of a standard plastic milk bottle, not only will it be a hole under the waterline for the voluntary approach taken by WRAP, government and the industry, it will make all the warm words about sustainability and the circular economy sound very hollow…. Surely 0.1p on the cost of a milk bottle is not a high price to pay for the sustainability of the UK rHDPE recycling infrastructure?”

Chair of the Resource Association Peter Clayson added that the body is “ready to assist the minister and industry in any further discussion that may be needed to accelerate this week’s important intervention by him to a level where urgent and positive decisions can be made by those who have them in their gift”.

Now is the time when action really counts’

Urgent calls for action have also been voiced by the Chief Executive of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), Steve Lee, who said: “Global market conditions may be challenging at the current time, but it is essential that this progress is maintained and supported, and CIWM welcomes Defra’s strong statement to this effect today…

“However, now is the time when action really counts as the plastics markets experience unprecedented challenges. Ultimately, the imperative goes beyond simply meeting targets and legal obligations, it is about ‘tooling up’ to ensure that the UK directly reaps the environmental and economic benefits of recycling and resource efficiency.

“It is also about delivering a very positive message to consumers that their recycling efforts are making a difference here at home. Seeing recycling at work in the form of products and packaging with recycled content on the supermarket shelf provides a tangible everyday example that helps encourage behaviour change and drive greater participation in recycling.”

Industry backing

Members of the food and drink industries, as well as packaging bodies, have supported the calls for more commitment, with Andrew Opie, Director of Food and Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium (BRC), saying: “We are aware of difficulties in the plastics recycling industry and are supportive of the principles of recycled content in packaging and products.

“Our members are signed up to a number of commitments in this area and will continue to work towards them, but recognise that this is a difficult market and greater attention needs to be paid to the long-term sustainability of the UK recycling industry.”

Dr Judith Bryans, CEO of Dairy UK, added: “Under the Dairy Roadmap, dairy companies have worked hard to achieve the target of 30 per cent recycled material in HDPE milk bottles by 2015. There will be further progress in the future.

“As an industry, we have a clear understanding of the important role of the plastic recycling sector in allowing us to meet these ambitious targets and help secure a sustainable future for the UK dairy industry.”

Find out more about the problems facing the plastics industry or learn more about the Courtauld Commitment and Dairy Roadmap.


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