Plastic Recycling Industries Define “Recyclability”

It’s one of the biggest conundrums in plastic, whether or not a plastic bottle or packaging is recyclable. Thanks to a new international ruling, we now have some clarity on what makes a plastic recyclable.

The Association of Plastic Recyclers and Plastics Recycling Europe recently crafted a joint announcement in response to numerous companies committing to using “recyclable” packaging. The groups determined four conditions necessary for a plastic product to be considered recyclable.

  1. The plastic resin must be collected for recycling, have market value and/or be supported by a legislatively mandated program (e.g. bottle bills)
  2. The product must have a defined stream for recycling
  3. There need to be existing technologies to process and commercially recycle the product
  4. The plastic must become a raw material that is then used to manufacture new products

Previous attempts at defining recyclable include the Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides, revised most recently in 2012. The Green Guides were designed to prevent companies from making unjustified marketing claims. On the topic of recyclable, the green guides stated that:

“A product or package should not be marketed as recyclable unless it can be collected, separated, or otherwise recovered from the waste stream through an established recycling program for reuse or use in manufacturing or assembling another item.”

So APR’s ruling more or less reaffirms the Green Guides stance on recyclability, while providing further layers that ensure the plastic is turned into a new product.

As a plastic recycler, Envision Plastics is excited to work with companies who want to further their sustainability claims by using a high quantity of post consumer recycled plastic in their packaging.

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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 http://www.refocussummit.org.

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

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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:   http://tinyurl.com/mfl4eek

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 www.resourceassociation.com

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