The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR), which represents the plastics recycling industry in North America, has announced its support for the Recycling Partnership, a public-private partnership that was unveiled at the recently concluded Wal-Mart Sustainability Product Expo in Rogers, Arkansas. The project will combine outreach and infrastructure improvements designed to boost recycling rates with a first-year focus on the U.S. Southeast.
The program will be managed by the Curbside Value Partnership (CVP), Arlington, Virginia.
“As we reviewed the proposal from the partnership, it became clear that the plastics recycling industry needed to be part of the program in order to ensure the issues facing our industry are addressed as part of this comprehensive initiative,” says Steve Alexander, APR executive director. “What makes this program unique is that it involves all materials focusing on developing a comprehensive strategy to increase recycling. As plastics recyclers, we clearly want more supply, but more importantly, good, clean supply. We need to ensure that any proposals adding material do so in a manner that does not increase contamination or reduce bale yields.”
The Recycling Partnership will develop programs that create the four key elements of successful recycling:
- public and government support;
- regional coordination; and
- strong outreach and education.
Keefe Harrison, CVP executive director, who will manage the program, emphasizes the importance of having APR and the expertise of plastic recyclers as participants in the partnership. "The Recycling Partnership is focused on strategy across the many sectors of the recycling supply chain. We're very pleased to have APR at the table and know they'll work to ensure the plastic reclaimers are helping to shape a strong systems-solution to the need for more supply."
Multistakeholder engagement across the initiative will be a key component to success. CVP is continuing to look for additional interested funders to expand the scale more quickly. “We’re hopeful that many other companies are going to not only voice support, but also generously commit to the Recycling Partnership over the next month and beyond,” Harrison continues.
“At the end of the day, we believe this partnership has the potential to develop a best management blueprint for communities to increase collection of recyclables across the country,” says J. Scott Saunders, general manager of Troy, Alabama-based KW Plastics and APR chairman.