The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) has launched a new program designed to expand market demand for recycled resins and improve plastic recycling in North America.
The APR Recycling Demand Champion Campaign aims to increase the use of polyolefin (PP or PE) postconsumer resin (PCR). The group's focus is on “Work in Process” (WIP) items used in manufacturing. These include everyday industrial applications such as trash cans, pallets and tote boxes.
The campaign comes amid the uncertainty raised by China's National Sword crackdown on importing some kinds of recycled materials.
Demand Champions will sign a letter of intent to identify and use these WIPs in their facilities and require PCR content in them. As the program adds more participants, this will increase the demand for post-consumer recycled polyolefins.
“This program will drive demand for broad specification PCR produced from mixed residential plastics,” Liz Bedard, director of the APR rigid plastic recycling program, said in a statement. “We have identified potential end markets for PCR in WIP durable goods such as crates, tote boxes, cans, pails, drums, trash or recycle bins, pallets, transport packaging and other items.”
“We know there are increased environmental and economic benefits that come from recycling, but only if the materials recycled are made into new products or goods,” APR President Steve Alexander said in a statement. “Any company looking to catalyze those benefits can have a positive impact on the recycling system by directing those recycled resins into WIP goods that they are already purchasing on a regular basis.”
APR will work to expand participation in this program in partnership with brand owners, retailers, trade organizations, and other members of the recycling value chain. “We welcome any company to join the Demand Champion program,” adds Alexander.
In alphabetical order, the initial Recycling Demand Champions are: Berry Global, Campbells Soup Co., Coca-Cola North America, Envision Plastics, Keurig Green Mountain Inc., KW Plastics, Merlin Plastics, Plastipak/Clean Tech Inc., The Procter & Gamble Company and Target Corp. Participating companies will regularly report progress updating their increased use of PCR in these areas, so positive impacts expanding and increasing the use of PCR may be anonymously aggregated and collectively reported.
“This program represents a critical step in expanding the use of PCR in the marketplace,” Alexander said. “It represents a major shift in the paradigm of major brands and manufacturers in identifying an expanded menu of options for the use of recycled material in a broader array of products.”
Target recently became the first major retail member of APR. This completes APR’s engagement across the full supply chain of materials: MRFs, equipment suppliers, recyclers, converters, consumer brand companies, and retailers. Signing on to the APR Recycling Demand Champion Program builds on the five sustainable packaging goals that Target announced earlier this year.