Eliminating waste, increasing recycling and enhancing profits

Columns - SPI Perspective

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March 30, 2016

A lasting solution to our planet’s challenges with litter and marine debris won’t be found until we can create a market in which it’s never more profitable to bury or waste a piece of plastic than it is to recycle it or convert it into energy. There are temporary solutions to environmental challenges, and then there are innovative, market-driven solutions that last because they don’t just increase recycling or reduce landfilling or increase the industry’s overall sustainable operation but because they enable the industry to accomplish those goals while enhancing profits as well.

Realizing the highest and best value for all of the materials that pass through the plastics industry supply chain will take time and effort. But it will take less time if the industry can work together to find market-based solutions to the world’s most intransigent sustainability challenges. That’s why SPI is happy to be a part of Plastics Recycling magazine, a forum where the best minds in the industry will share strategies, insights and updates that spur collaboration and ignite innovation.

It’s also why SPI is proud to host the inaugural Re|focus Recycling Summit & Expo, www.refocussummit.org. This unique event, from April 25-27 in Orlando, Florida, offers the plastics supply chain a forum to network, exchange information and ultimately expand the industry’s sustainability knowledge base and every end market it touches. With a world-class educational program featuring some of the brightest, most progressive leaders in recycling, design, sustainability and engineering, the Re|focus program will give attendees an opportunity to learn something they can take back to their companies immediately to enhance the sustainability of their operations.

Another goal of Plastics Recycling magazine, as well as of Re|focus, is to demonstrate to the public that no one takes the challenge of eliminating waste and plastic litter more seriously than the plastics industry. After all, if anyone hates seeing these materials wasted, it’s us. That’s why we’re engaging the entire plastic supply chain to find, develop and implement market-based solutions to the collection challenges that prevent plastic materials from having more than one life, whether that’s through recycling, energy conversion or any other technology that derives value from plastics that would otherwise become litter or landfill fodder.

As professionals in the industry know, plastics are a valuable resource throughout their life spans. From the time they’re manufactured to when they’re used in packaging, health care, transportation, construction and consumer safety applications and on to when they’ve reached end of life, these materials are valuable. We hope the insights in this and future editions of Plastics Recycling, and throughout the Re|focus programming, empower your company to reach its sustainability goals while enhancing profits and ensuring that all plastic materials are put to their highest and best use along the way.

Bill Carteaux is president and CEO of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, headquartered in Washington.