A new report from Ameripen, the American Institute for Packaging and the Environment, and sustainability and recycling consulting firm Resource Recycling Systems (RRS) is designed to help state governments and other stakeholders establish or improve recycling market development centers.
According to “Best Practices for State Recycling Market Development Centers,” such a center is an “agency-led or third-party-led entity or program typically established and funded by state governments focused on facilitating growth within the recycling industry through market development activities.”
Bryce Hesterman, a consultant with Ann Arbor, Michigan-based RRS, says, “The concept of recycling market development centers is not new. In the early 1990s, state-led programs existed in North and South Carolina, Minnesota, New York and Washington. Now, with restricted export markets, advancement in related technology, expanding requirements for recycled content and increasing focus on creating domestic circular economies, there is a renewed interest in developing more of these centers.”
The best practices guide expands on four primary topics for developing a state recycling market development center:
- establishment, or the formal framework for the center;
- funding sources for operating and implementing the center;
- operations, or how the center is directed, staffed and governed; and
- programming, or the center’s activities and the supportive tools and resources.
“Ameripen was established on the premise of supporting sustainable solutions for the packaging value chain, including driving a circular economy,” Dan Felton, executive director of the St. Paul, Minnesota-based organization, says. “With an increasing number of companies setting voluntary recycling and recycled content goals, ensuring we have the systems in place to support these goals is essential to our success. Developing recycling end markets is key to that effort.”
Felton continues, “Our goal for the best practices guide is to assist governments and other stakeholders to advance the discussion and take action toward developing recycling market development centers that benefit the economy, communities and the environment.”
Several existing recycling market development programs in the U.S. provided insights into the development of the report that is available for free download on the Ameripen website at www.ameripen.org/page/state-market-development.
Ameripen and RRS plan to host a free webinar Oct. 20 to present key findings, discuss the impact of the report and discuss the value of recycling market development with some of the organizations that contributed to the report. Interested parties can register here at www.ameripen.org/events/EventDetails.aspx?id=1563954.