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.

Green packaging shifts up the priority list for brand owners and consumers

By Chris BARKER , 29-Nov-2013

100% recycled packaging logo

Increasing environmental awareness means that sustainable packaging is becoming a higher priority for both consumers and brand owners, as evidenced by the number of cosmetics firms opting for a greener option.

Elizabeth Arden this week chose the Airopack dispensing system, and this adds to the long list of brands opting for environmentally friendly packaging in order to appeal to customers.

The Elizabeth Arden Ceramide products are being produced through the Airopack Full Service Operation, which will see the dispensers produced, filled, sleeved and packed to meet the brand’s specifications.

Increasing awareness

“Brand owners become more aware of their responsibility in today’s society. As environmental awareness shifts higher up the priority list at both consumers and brand owners, sustainable products become increasingly important to express a brand message,” Airopack marketing manager Caren Kuijs tells to CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com

“Over the last 10 years we have identified an enormous growth in cosmetic formulations holding natural ingredients and with this Airopack is able to enhance the total sustaining message on shelf for the consumer.”

This technology has also been adopted by other major companies in the recent past; including Procter & Gamble and Danish brand Nordictan.

As technology advances, lightweight packaging and aerosols with a low carbon footprint and CO2 impact are becoming more practical and are being adopted by larger numbers of companies.

Industry examples

Estee Lauder subsidiary Aveda recently brought a new dimension to packaging by introducing 100% recycled packaging for eye colouring in their ‘Essence of Nature Single Eye Color Refil’ line, launched earlier this year.

The company also adopted the tactic of selling refills of its most popular colors, to allow consumers to re-use the same packaging multiple times.

Copyright – Unless otherwise stated all contents of this web site are © 2013 – William Reed Business Media SAS – All Rights Reserved

Recycling Of HDPE Bottles Tops 1 Billion Pounds In 2012

 

Baled plastic bottles waiting to be recycled

Baled plastic bottles waiting to be recycled

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2013 — Rate Climbs to Nearly 32 Percent

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Plastic bottle recycling by consumers increased 161 million pounds in 2012, edging up 6.2 percent, to reach nearly 2.8 billion pounds for the year, according to figures released jointly today by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) and the American Chemistry Council (ACC). The recycling rate for all plastic bottles rose 1.6 percent to 30.5 percent for the year.

The 23rd annual National Post-Consumer Plastics Bottle Recycling Report marks the twenty-third consecutive year that Americans have increased the pounds of plastic bottles returned for recycling. The number of pounds of used bottles collected in the United States has grown each year since the industry survey began in 1990.

During 2012, the collection of high-density polyethylene (HDPE, #2) bottles – a category that includes milk jugs and bottles for household cleaners and detergents – rose 45.3 million pounds to top 1 billion pounds for the first time, helping to boost the recycling rate for HDPE bottles from 29.9 to 31.6 percent.

“We are very encouraged by the steady growth in plastic bottle recycling,” said Steve Alexander, executive director of APR.  “Used plastics are valuable materials, and recyclers rely on all of us to make sure these resources make it into a recycling bin.”

“Thanks to increased consumer access to recycling programs and growth in single-stream collection – whereby consumers place all recycled materials into a single bin – plastics recycling is one of the easiest things we can do to benefit the planet,” added Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council.

“In the United States, we have the capacity to recycle more used plastics than we are currently collecting, and innovative manufacturers are using these materials in new and exciting ways.  Each of us can help by doing our part to get more used plastics into a recycling bin,” Russell said.

Alexander and Russell offered three simple tips to help consumers recycle more of their plastic bottles:

  • Bring it back. If you empty a plastic bottle on-the-go, bring it back to a bin.
  • Recycle all plastic bottles.  Today, recyclers collect all types of plastic bottles, regardless of the number, or resin identification code, printed on the bottom.
  • Don’t forget about caps! Recyclers want both caps and bottles, so please remember to twist caps back on bottles after use.

 

This year’s survey of plastic bottle recycling also found that the collection of polypropylene (PP, #5) bottles rose to nearly 47 million pounds, an annual increase of 7.2 percent, with 73 percent of that material processed domestically as PP, rather than mixed with other resins.  Domestic processing of postconsumer PP bottles increased 14 percent to reach 43.5 million pounds.  Although PP caps and non-bottle containers are widely collected for recycling in the United States, these data are released in a separate report on recycling non-bottle rigid plastics, which will be released in the coming weeks.

Together, polyethylene terephthalate (PET, #1) and HDPE bottles continue to make up over 96 percent of the U.S. market for plastic bottles with polypropylene bottles comprising half of the remaining 4 percent.

Exports of HDPE bottles rose 30 million pounds to 201 million pounds in 2012, while imports of postconsumer HDPE decreased by 35 percent to 33.1 million pounds, which, combined with increased collection and exports, resulted in slightly lower purchases for U.S. reclamation plants.

The full 2012 report National Post-Consumer Plastics Bottle Recycling Report is available on the “Reports and Publications” section of ACC’s website and on APR’s (www.plasticsrecycling.org) website.

Data on PET recycling referenced in the report were separately funded and published by APR and the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR).  A separate report, entitled 2012 Report on Post-Consumer PET Container Recycling Activity, is available on APR’s website.

The survey of reclaimers in the study was conducted by Moore Recycling Associates, Inc.

Resources for municipal recyclers are available at www.allplasticbottles.org and www.recycleyourplastics.org.

The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) is the national trade association representing companies that acquire, reprocess and sell the output of more than 90 percent of the post-consumer plastic processing capacity in North America. Founded in 1992, its membership includes independent recycling companies of all sizes, processing numerous resins.  APR strongly advocates the recycling of all post-consumer plastic packaging.

http://www.plasticsrecycling.org.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people’s lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®, common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $770 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation’s economy. It is one of the nation’s largest exporters, accounting for twelve percent of all U.S. exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure.

Weighing the next 40 years of recycling

Editor’s Note: This story appears in Waste & Recycling News’ commemorative issue, “40 Years of Curbside Recycling.”

Recycling at high-rise apartments offers a great opportunity to collect a large amount of materials from one location, but containers that tenants empty their household bins into can fill fast, especially on weekends.

Instead of toting the potential commodities back to their unit, some residents trash them.

Overcoming the hurdles to convenient recycling at multiple-family housing needs to be addressed, said Steven Thompson, executive director of Curbside Value Partnership, a non-profit group that works with cities and states to increase participation.

“You have to have architects designing multiple chutes on the 30th floor instead of just one for trash,” Thompson said. “That’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of time.”

He hopes it is one of the changes that come about in the next 40 years for curbside recycling.

“There are conundrums the industry doesn’t have its head around, like rural areas,” Thompson said. “It’s very hard to cost-effectively recycle when you have three miles between mailboxes.”

The 40th anniversary of curbside recycling begs the question: What will it be like in the next four decades? What quandaries will be cleared up? What new ones will pop up?

Waste & Recycling News asked some of the leaders in the industry to look into their crystal balls and offer a glimpse of what may be in 2053.

The predictions, aspirations and cautions ranged from boosting the recycling rate beyond 34% to finding profitable solutions to problems and to this warning: Without more attention to quality control during processing, the pendulum could take an ugly swing backward to manufacturers using virgin material.

Steve Miller, CEO of Bulk Handling Systems, sees several trends moving forward, such as more mixing of materials, better technology to extract materials, and higher quality of extracted materials for reprocessing today’s common recyclables.

There will be less left to waste if advances in refuse-derived fuel take some big steps forward in the next four decades, he added. All eyes and many minds are on the organic fraction of the waste stream and anaerobic digestion.

Miller expects the industry to next go after materials like used paper plates, tissues and towels, and plastic films.

“[They’re] not in sufficient quantity to have a commodity value to them but when thought of as an energy source they have a high-caloric value to them and could be utilized that way,” Miller said. “When you go forward I think there will be much more work in that area.”

Contaminated paper products, which can’t be recovered as a fiber source, and other components of the light and high-energy fraction could become a refuse-derived fuel that helps utilities power plants now using coal or natural gas.

Thompson also sees more waste-to-energy facilities on the horizon and his fingers are crossed the option doesn’t deter recycling.

“Waste-to-energy needs to be thought through so it doesn’t become a reason not to recycle,” he said. “People might say, ‘Oh we don’t need to do that. We’ll just burn it.’ There are ways they can co-exist nicely and have a high functionality but it needs to be carefully designed and implemented.”

For now, the industry is stumped as to how to remove the so-called “frozen fuel” of plastic film — grocery bags, dry cleaners bags, and the clear packaging for men’s dress shirts — that gets intertwined with recyclables.

“That material is substantially more than what people think,” said Nathiel Egosi, owner and founder of RRT Design & Construction. “It’s problematic to process because it’s difficult to remove in an automatic fashion.”

Egosi expects those pesky flexible plastic packages to be sorted in some systematic way in upcoming years.

“It’s not a desirable material in bales of plastic and other types of commodities,” he said. “The whole industry is working to develop a technique to get that plastic film out.”

MRFs will evolve to process more materials and do so more economically in the next 40 years, said Bill Moore, president of the consulting firm Moore & Associates. In the 1990s, a big MRF cost $1 million to build and handled 100 tons of material a day; today, $20 million MRFs process 1,000 tons daily, he said.

“I suspect we’ll grow that with more regional facilities,” Moore said. “MRFs will continue to look like sophisticated manufacturing operations. They bring in raw materials and process it. That’s the mindset. They are manufacturers creating value out of product.”

Mick Barry, a board member of the National Recycling Coalition, is rooting for dual-stream recycling to win out over single-stream. He’s concerned about commingled recyclables causing impurity problems with the finished product and turning off buyers.

Barry, who also is a materials broker, points to China’s “Green Fence.” The crackdown on imported waste is more than a short-term awareness campaign about sub-standard scrap, Barry said. He sees it as a long-term, quality-control initiative that affects one of America’s top exports.

There is no longer a ready market in China for impure bales of plastic, paper and other recyclables from the U.S. and Europe.

“We’ve got to clean up our act,” Barry said. “The [United Kingdom] sent too much junk in with plastic and they finally cut the U.K. off. They sent a message to the world: Hey, enough is enough. Don’t dump on us and blame us for being the garbage guys of the world.”

It’s critical that all U.S. recyclers remember their bottom line is creating a raw material from a used material and not simply recovering things from the waste stream, Barry said. His message: Have some pride of ownership.

“If we don’t go back to that, we will lose our position as the primary source of materials for manufacturing product back to the virgin base,” Barry said.

Kate Krebs, a former director of the NRC, envisions a future with no waste at all.

“Waste to me is a design flaw,” she said. “If you design a product correctly, you factor in not only the form and function but end of life. That thinking is permeating through our global manufacturing side. That helps us shift. If we really got the consumer marketing going and we continue to spread end-of-life strategies to the makers of product, looking ahead 40 years we should have a much more efficient, simple system.”

EndInMind Design Launches Unique Way to Encourage Recycling

RecyclerSackOur friend Jay Edwards and his partner Sheila Arora have come up with a cool new way to encourage recycling. They have launched the new EndInMind Design website, endinminddesign.com, and their first new product, RecyclerSack(TM). RecyclerSack is geared toward collecting recyclables, away from home, in places where participation in recycling is low, such as hotels. They have blended the functionality of a plastic bag for segregating recyclables from trash, with fine art, so your recyclables have a beautiful and fashionable place to be stored while waiting for collection.

This is their first product of what is likely to be many, fine art inspired, sustainable solutions. We wish them best of luck and look forward to seeing RecyclerSacks on our next road trip.

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