The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) represents over 90% of the post-consumer plastics recycling capacity in North America. APR members, as purchasers, recyclers and reclaimers of collected plastic bottles, are greatly impacted by legislation dealing with any number of solid waste and packaging initiatives.
In May of 2006, the APR Board of Directors issued position statements on key issues facing the membership. Those position statements deal with legislative initiatives covering landfill bans of plastic bottles; proposals requiring a minimum level of recycled content in bottles; the expansion of EXISTING deposit legislation to include non-carbonated beverage plastic bottles; and efforts to repeal EXISTING deposit laws. Those position statements are included in their entirety under this section.
It is critical for legislative decision-makers to have the opportunity to hear from the segment of industry that receives and processes the plastic recyclables generated by the consequences of legislation.
Our motivation is clear. For our industry to grow we need to dramatically increase the volume of plastic that can reasonably be recycled back into a marketable product. To be successful, the supply of bottles needs to grow and the quality of the stream should be protected. This is not a simple task. If containers collected for recycling are manufactured from less recyclable plastics or contain hostile residue contaminants, not only are the containers not recycled, but they may render otherwise good bottles as non-recyclable. If the recycling infrastructure for landfill-diverted materials cannot deal with the quality of collected materials economically, the material ultimately will be hauled back to a landfill at added citizen expense.
As recycling is a business, both material supply and demand must constantly be nurtured. This requires a cooperative effort from the food and packaging industry, the environmental community, the recycling industry, and government. A cooperative program that divides responsibilities and respects needs is essential to the long-term success of recycling.
As the domestic plastics reclamation community, APR actively participates in forums to exchange ideas, experience and knowledge on recycling alternatives. Our challenge is finding sustainable answers that meet diverse needs.