Taking a new approach

Columns - Editor’s Letter

Recycling Today Media Group moved its annual conferences to online broadcast formats this year, providing a mix of one-on-one interviews and roundtable discussions.

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December 1, 2020

The pandemic has altered the way we do many things this year, even how we celebrate holidays with family and friends. Recycling Today’s annual MRF Operations Forum and Paper & Plastics Recycling conferences were not exempted.

Being unable to host our MRF Operations Forum or our North American Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference in Chicago this year as we normally would, nor our Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference Europe in Rotterdam as we had planned, Recycling Today instead had to take a new approach. We created two broadcast events. The Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference International (PPRCi) combined our North American and European events into a single broadcast that aired Oct. 20-22, while our MRF Operations Forum aired Oct. 19. Both events featured a mix of one-on-one interviews, more traditional presentations and roundtable discussions.

If you did not join us for these events, you still can access the recordings by registering at http://opsforum.recyclingtodayevents.com for the MRF Operations Forum and http://paperplasticsna.recyclingtodayevents.com for the PPRCi.

“We hope you think Recycling Today met the challenge posed by the inability to meet in person in a dynamic and informative way.”

Those of you who did attend will notice that our keynote speaker, John Morris, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Waste Management, is also the subject of this issue’s Industry Leaders Q&A. In this interview, which is an edited transcript of our discussion, Morris describes the technology that Waste Management is deploying at some of its material recovery facilities (MRFs), which is heavily focused on optical and positive sorting.

Other PPRCi and MRF Operations Forum sessions featured discussions on technology, including sessions on putting new technology to work in MRFs, robotics and getting the best performance from your optical sorters.

In addition to technology, PPRCi sessions touched on the theme of collaboration throughout the recycling supply chain, particularly when it comes to plastics. We heard from representatives from companies including Kraft Heinz and Dow, from packaging suppliers including Amcor and Sonoco and from organizations like The Recycling Partnership, Closed Loop Partners and Resource Recycling Systems that are helping to facilitate this collaboration. While we’ll likely share some more highlights from these events before the end of the year, you can access it all now by registering.

For more on the paper recycling topics that we discussed during PPRCi, click here for our annual Paper Recycling Supplement. You can read about recycled pulp projects underway in the U.S. and Asia and mill buyers’ perspectives on the recycled fiber supply chain.

2020 has challenged us in many ways, and as of mid-November when I’m writing this, it looks like we’ll continue to face challenges as we enter 2021. We hope you think Recycling Today met the challenge posed by the inability to meet in person in a dynamic and informative way. I welcome your comments at dtoto@gie.net.