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‘It’s not going anywhere’: Longtime leader in plastics recycling takes stock

Published: June 12, 2024


Bill O’Grady — a former board member and influential chairman of the Association of Plastic Recyclers, a current board member of Resource Recycling, a longtime executive at California recycling company Talco Plastics and, according to him, a man who wandered into the industry decades ago essentially by accident — is possibly, probably, most likely retiring this year.

“I’d like to say that. I’ve planted that seed as far back as, I’d say, maybe three years ago, and I’m still here,” O’Grady said during an interview in February. He was in the thick of regulatory reporting and other duties he felt obligated to see through to the end. But the chance to travel and spend more time with his three grandchildren beckoned.

“I’d like to be doing a lot less by the summer months,” he said, though he might make periodic appearances a few times a year after that. “It’d be hard for me to admit that I’m going to leave the plastics community entirely.”

Steve Alexander, APR president and CEO, said as chairman, O’Grady led APR’s transition from a volunteer organization to a professionally managed one, which included Alexander’s hiring in 2005. Alexander called him “an icon in plastics recycling” and mentor whose vision made APR into an internationally recognized trade association. (APR owns Resource Recycling, Inc.)

“You could argue he’s one of the very few people who are responsible for the plastic recycling industry to be where it is today,” Alexander said. “No one has done more to advance the cause of plastics recycling.”

O’Grady had a knack for building consensus even among competitors, as many APR members are, said J. Scott Saunders, general manager at KW Plastics Recycling Division in Alabama and another APR board member. He said the ability to herd cats was essential to APR’s carrying on through its split from the American Chemistry Council.

“Without Bill’s leadership, I believe the whole organization would have stumbled and fallen apart,” Saunders told Resource Recycling. “We’re going to miss him, man, and the industry is going to be very different without him.”

Nicole Janssen, president of Denton Plastics in Oregon and a member of the APR and Resource Recycling boards, said O’Grady has always been someone whom she looked up to and who shared long discussions about the industry’s values and outlooks.

“He has helped me to grow as an industry leader,” she wrote in an email. “I’m proud to call him a friend as well.”

Looking back, looking ahead

Before his rise to APR’s heights, O’Grady was studying veterinary medicine and other sciences in college, he said. Then his family bought a small recycling company in Santa Ana, California, and asked him to help run it. He agreed, settled in, and when the opportunity came along to turn back to the veterinary field, he let it pass by.

“I kind of got into recycling by default,” O’Grady said. “I felt a sense of accomplishment because I was doing something that I actually believed in.”

Years later, in 1995, he moved on to Talco, an extruder and pelletizer focused primarily on polystyrene and polyolefins, where O’Grady serves as vice president and general manager overseeing the company’s post-consumer division in Long Beach and its Corona facility. O’Grady joined the APR board shortly after.

“Certainly, the landscape has changed over my tenure,” O’Grady said of the industry. “It’s gone from a very fledgling, nondescript environment to a very succinct and structured environment—in terms of public perspective, industry perspective, brand owner perspective, consumer product perspective.”

With that maturation, however, have come challenges that must be addressed, he said:

  • Chemical recycling

“The biggest challenge today of course would probably be the relationship with chemical recycling versus mechanical recycling, and how that relates to the sustainability of the industry overall,” O’Grady said.

“It needs to prove itself,” he went on, so that the benefits of chemical and mechanical approaches can be weighed and compared. The Recycling Partnership took a similar tack in its February position statement on the burgeoning industry, which has drawn skepticism from a wide range of recycling and environmental groups.

“We need more clarity, and the chemical recyclers need to be accountable,” O’Grady said.

  • Dollars and sense of PCR

O’Grady also pointed to the fluctuating market dynamics of post-consumer resin, which has become more appealing to brands with high-profile sustainability targets but often comes with a higher price tag or other challenges.

“We’re facing the need to continually promote the value and use of PCR across the board,” he said, including by emphasizing that this value stretches beyond cost savings. “There’s no simple solution to that, obviously, but the end user has to come to grips with the fact that post-consumer materials do not compete very well with virgin resin.”

  • Changing infrastructure

On a related point, O’Grady said that as a materials reclaimer he’s seen firsthand the gap between collection infrastructure and rising PCR demand. He pointed to moves by waste hauling companies like WM and Republic Services to extend their reach further down the post-consumer chain as a potential game-changer.

“It remains to be seen” what impact those investments will have on the plastic recycling industry overall, he said. “It could alter the landscape considerably in terms of sourcing product for post-consumer application.”

  • Plastic recycling’s reputation

The very concept of plastic recycling and its motivations increasingly have come under fire, echoing the pushback that helped spark the original plastic recycling push decades ago. Critics point to the global environmental footprint of all plastic production and the enormous variety of polymers that recycling at scale has failed to capture—the “fraud of plastic recycling,” as a widely cited report from the Center for Climate Integrity recently put it.

O’Grady said misinformation and misinterpretation are painting a negative picture of his industry, which “can diminish the value of plastic recycling and the use of plastic material.”

“We need to proactively advocate the benefits of plastics and plastic recycling rather than react to the flavor of the day, so to speak,” he said. “And I think we need to dispel some of this negativity or some of this fear of using plastics.

“I don’t think in my lifetime we’re going to get rid of plastic,” O’Grady added. “It’s here to stay. It’s not going anywhere.”

This article appeared in the Spring 2024 issue of Plastics Recycling Update. Subscribe today for access to all print content.

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Approaching the PCR compliance wall

Published: June 12, 2024


Huguette Roe/Shutterstock

A spate of recent laws in various states set lofty goals for both recycling materials and putting that recycled content back into new products. However, the infrastructure and industry are not at the right scale to meet those statute-mandated goals, and that could spell legal and financial trouble for producers. Those producers have a few options to consider, but action must be decided on soon, as some of the deadlines are already in play.

The recycling industry knows that recycling is not just about plastics; however, for legislators, plastics are at the forefront of recycling policy. Whether it’s California’s SB 54 pushing toward a 25% source reduction in plastic packaging, or the minimum post-consumer recycled content standards in California, New Jersey and Washington, plastics are widely seen as the issue driving policy.

The good news in this is that solving for increased recovery of plastics will bring solutions that improve the system that also delivers paper, glass and metals to recycling facilities, as they all take a ride in the bin in residential curbside recycling programs. However, as extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws for packaging are being implemented in California, Colorado, Maine and Oregon, we are years away from seeing major increases in recycling rates in those states. That leaves a significant gap between the demand for recycled material, particularly plastic, and the available supply. Combine that gap with the coming post-consumer resin (PCR) standards, and there is a major issue ahead with respect to the mismatch of supply and demand, and it has legal ramifications.

Right now, the cumulative demand for PCR from the three state laws plus the voluntary commitments to use PCR by brands far exceeds current availability of PCR. A study published in 2022 by Independent Commodity Intelligence Services (ICIS) found that the U.S. would need an additional 140 materials recovery facilities (MRFs) to close the gap and meet the demand that is already being expressed for PCR, including PET, HDPE and PP. That does not include possible new policy drivers that could further widen this gap.

New Jersey’s Recycled Content Law states in its purpose statement, “By requiring manufacturers to utilize post-consumer recycled content, markets for such materials are enhanced as demand shifts from virgin to recycled sources. Recycling relies heavily on supply and demand to keep the industry afloat. As oil prices decrease so do prices for virgin plastic which subsequently decrease the demand for recycled materials. Requiring manufacturers to meet minimum recycled content requirements helps to stabilize markets, increase the resiliency of the recycling industry when oil prices fluctuate, and shield municipal recycling programs from the volatility of the cost to recycle.”

Really? The legislature placed a heavy burden on this one law. While indeed the demands are real, can this drive the level of investment needed to expand infrastructure, encourage participation, reduce contamination in residential streams and align material with optimal end markets? I think not.

Further, no company makes packaging destined for a particular state, or for that matter, three states. So, to meet the demands of California, New Jersey and Washington, companies need to meet these standards across their national portfolios. That requires a level of supply that simply will not be realized in time for the compliance requirements.

Many brand commitments are coming due in 2025 and the state laws have schedules that require achievement of various levels of PCR on an aggressive calendar. For example, California will require beverage containers to include 25% PCR by January 2025 and 50% PCR by 2030. New Jersey has requirements for plastics, paper and glass. It requires glass packaging to meet a 35% PCR content standard this year. To say that is impossible is a colossal understatement.

Washington’s law notes that the regulations for the bill begin in 2023 and each product category is phased in with increasing post-consumer recycled content (PCRC) requirements over the next fifteen years. Further, it adds that by 2036, all packaging for covered product categories must include at least 50% PCRC, excluding trash bags, which have a 20% requirement after 2027.

“Each year, producers must report on minimum post-consumer recycled content (PCRC) requirements from the previous year,” the law notes. “The minimum requirements began for beverage and trash bag producers in 2023. Household cleaning and personal care products will start in 2025, and dairy milk and wine sold in small 187 ml bottles will begin in 2029.”

The market is expected to evolve rapidly to make all of this new PCR available, and as you have already figured out, I am skeptical this will happen.

We can certainly talk about how these laws fail to reflect the reality of how recycling markets work, but right now that discussion is only useful in terms of informing how we should engage as new proposals are considered. These laws are already in effect now, so the challenge here is what can industry do to help ensure compliance? In my estimation, something will need to shift dramatically over the coming years, or we are going to hit a “compliance wall.”

What are the options? Multiple industry segments could align and double down on supporting EPR to increase recycling rates and then go back to regulators and say, “look, we’re doing all we can, so can we slow this down?” Would this take the form of working in some of the largest states, say New York and Texas, or would it look more like a federal solution? Do we organize an effort to push back the compliance timelines without the sincere effort to push up recycling rates first? I suspect this would be costly, poorly received and highly likely to fail. Do we run out the timelines, fail to comply and see what happens?

The answer here is elusive, but one thing is for sure: pretending the problem isn’t there will not solve it. Sectors spanning CPG, beverage, personal care, household products and retailers need to engage in dialogue and test where there may be common interest and a possible way forward that all can engage with and support.

Companies often set audacious goals and then fail to meet them. In those cases, a company can always shift the narrative, explain away the failure and earn favor by setting yet another goal. It’s different for regulations. Failure to achieve these requirements comes with financial penalties. In the case of California, the law sets penalties at a rate of $0.20 per pound based on the shortfall of recycled content used compared to the minimum content requirement.

In the past, policy has forced companies to think more about their packaging and its impacts, it has also driven innovation and a collective response around implementation. This momentum needs to be harnessed now and focused in a constructive way on a collaborative effort to offer and support solutions to the PCR compliance wall challenge.

Michael Washburn is principal and owner at Washburn Consulting: Sustainability & Public Affairs.

This article appeared in the Spring 2024 issue of Plastics Recycling Update. Subscribe today for access to all print content.

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Data Sort: PET bottle recovery rate

Published: June 12, 2024


The U.S. PET bottle recovery rate made a notable jump, reaching 28.6%, according to an industry report published Dec. 14. The National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) said the U.S. PET bottle recovery rate for 2021 was up 1.5 percentage points from 2020, with a notable rebound in bottles redeemed through deposit programs in 2021. The increase marks the end of a years-long slide in the country’s PET bottle recovery rate, which had been falling since 2017.

The report also found a continuation of shifting end markets. Historically, the largest end use for U.S. and Canadian RPET has been fiber for use in textiles. But that changed in 2020, when bottles (both food/beverage and non-food/beverage combined) surpassed polyester fiber as the largest single end market. Bottles continued to outpace fiber in 2021.

This article appeared in the Spring 2024 issue of Plastics Recycling Update. Subscribe today for access to all print content.

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A fresh outlook for PET thermoform

Published: June 12, 2024


Konektus Photo/Shutterstock

PET bottles are often identified as the most commonly recycled plastic in North America. However, some technical and economic barriers can limit the recycling of other PET packaging formats, such as thermoformed trays and clamshells, from being effectively recycled. This represents a significant undertaking for the industry, knowing that the use of PET thermoforms for all types of packaging (such as food, electronics, and cosmetics) has increased significantly over the past few years.

In Canada, PET thermoforms are accepted in curbside collection systems, with a successful collection rate of over 50%. Currently, the most common practice consists of mixing PET thermoforms into PET bottle bales, which are then sorted and washed to be used into different applications. However, due to their greater brittleness, processing PET thermoforms with bottles can lower the overall recycling yield and affect the quality of the recycled output, which limits its use in some end-markets.

These challenges are only going to be exacerbated in upcoming years in Canada, as the volume of thermoforms is expected to rise, both for regulatory and voluntary reasons. On the regulatory side, the expansion of deposit programs across the country will increase PET thermoform concentrations in MRFs by diverting PET bottles away from the curbside stream. In Quebec, for instance, the newly expanded program will include all beverage containers over 100 ml by March 2025. On the voluntary side, many brands and retailers are turning to PET thermoforms as alternatives to harder-to-recycle materials, such as polystyrene (PS) trays. In Canada, thermoforms are identified as a preferable alternative to PS in different eco-design resources, including in the Golden Design Rules for Plastic Packaging adapted to the Canadian market by the Canada Plastics Pact.

A challenge designed for the Circular Plastics Taskforce

Founded in January 2020, the Circular Plastics Taskforce (CPT) is a non-for-profit organization that was born out of the unprecedented collaboration between leading Canadian beverage and food companies, packaging manufacturers and industry associations. Since its inception, the group’s unique federating approach has attracted the support of government and industry partners, positioning it as a leading circularity organization in Canada and North America. The CPT’s mission is simple but ambitious: to support the building of a circular economy for all post-consumer plastics put on the market in Canada.

The work of the CPT focuses on what it calls the “orphans of the bin.” By that, the CPT means resin types or packaging formats that are usually accepted in Canadian curbside collection systems, but don’t currently have a solid path towards circularity, whether it is due to sorting issues, inadequate recycling infrastructure or lack of end markets. In this respect, PET thermoforms fit the bill perfectly.

After deciding that they wanted to work on thermoforms, the first step taken by the CPT was to discuss with PET recycling stakeholders to get an overview on the current state of affairs. The group soon realized that there appeared to be many conflicting viewpoints amongst the industry on how to handle thermoforms. While everyone seemed to agree there was a limit to the amount that could be processed through existing PET recycling lines, the percentage mentioned was not consistent and many challenged both the feasibility and viability of increasing their concentration. However, there seemed to be a lack of supporting evidence to corroborate those assumptions as no robust data or research finding could be provided.

To fill that gap, the CPT designed a research project that would test the ability of a PET reclaimer to process different thresholds of PET thermoforms and document the impact on both process efficiency and output quality. The project management was handed to Michel Gosselin, a PET recycling expert, to kick-start this research with the support of multiple Canadian PET reclaimers.

A practical approach

The study tested three different bales with varying concentrations of PET thermoforms. The control sample (approx. 41% thermoforms on total clear PET) consisted of commercially available bales that are considered representative of standard residential curbside bales commonly processed in Canada. The second sample (64%) was acquired through EFS-plastics and contains a higher level of PET thermoforms. This material came from a secondary sorting line which recovers PET from non-PET bales. The third sample (90%) was acquired from a MRF in California, where PET thermoforms are positively sorted out to produce thermoform-only bales.

One truckload of each of the three samples was then sent to a Canadian PET reclaimer with extensive experience in sorting and washing PET bales. The trial was done on a washing line that was modified over the years to improve efficiency and specifically reduce the generation of fines, here defined as flakes under 1.7mm (or 0.07 inches), specifically to produce sheet. The material was processed through the sorting line, including NIR and color automatic sorters, then through the wash line and the flake sorting equipment. Similar parameters were used for all three types of bales, with only minor adjustments done to optimize the process for each sample. While the initial target was to run the material at the line-rated capacity, the line speed when running the 90% material was lowered to 60% of normal throughput, due to contamination in the sink/float bath and clogging in the extraction screw coming out of the prewash. The reclaimer commented that this problem could be solved if there was a need to process material with very high levels of thermoformed PET on a regular basis.

Flake outputs from these trials were then sent to an independent lab to analyze, among others, their color, haze, and intrinsic viscosity (IV). As it is a main concern with thermoform recycling, the sorting and washing yields were also measured, notably the percentage of lost fines. The table below shows the main results from this analysis.

The study shows that the overall clear washed flake yield can be considered similar for the three types of sourced material. The 56.5% yield for the control material is considered to represent a low-quality bale for the reclaimer, as a high-quality bale provides a yield of around 70%. Furthermore, as expected, the lost fines content is increasing as the percentage of thermoforms increases. However, for most reclaimers supplying to the sheet industry, the lost fines fraction of 8.1% obtained for the 90% sample could probably be considered as acceptable. For those supplying exclusively the bottle industry, the control sample using 41% PET thermoform may be a more acceptable result.

“Considering what we often hear about the very high level of lost fines when converting PET thermoforms, it was surprising to find the relatively low level of lost fines, even for a modified process,” confirmed Michel Gosselin, the project manager. “While increasing, the fact that the numbers remained relatively reasonable even for a bale that is made almost entirely of thermoforms is promising.”

Finally, to move one step further up the recycling chain, 5,000 pounds of clean flakes from the 90% sample were sent to a Canadian manufacturer of PET sheets and thermoform containers. Sheets containing a mix of 25% of the sample and 75% of post-consumer recycled (PCR) bottle flakes were processed using extruders commonly used in the industry. Once produced, the sheets were evaluated for color, haze and IV, as seen in the table below. As a control sample, a sheet made of 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) bottle flakes was also processed and analyzed.

This test showed that the IV for the sheet extruded using the 90% material was lower than the control sample, which was to be expected. The color values were similar for both samples, except for the b* values (i.e. color tend to be more yellow). However, a difference lower than 1.0 is usually invisible to the human eye. Finally, the main difference was seen in the haze values. While this difference is visible to the human eye, the reclaimer reported that the sheet containing thermoforms could be sold in some markets, with approval from the end customers.

Guiding the development of new infrastructure

To summarize, three main conclusions emerge from this study:

  • Equipment is available to sort and process high concentrations of thermoforms when present in the PET stream.
  • Modifications can be made to a wash line to better process thermoforms.
  • PCR sheet can be made and formed into thermoforms of acceptable quality for specific markets using thermoform-only bales.

The CPT is aware that those conclusions have their limitations, notably due to the small sample size. Hence, in the coming month, the organization will study other components such as the cost of installing or operating the additional machinery or the effects on certain bottle grades or fiber end markets or processes designed to produce material for them.

However, the results show that there is room to grow with respect to the mechanical recycling of thermoforms, from packaging design all the way through end markets.

Through its work, the CPT’s goal is to spark some new conversations and a cross-border dialogue on the future of PET recycling, notably through an upcoming webinar in Spring 2024. In the coming year, the CPT will also continue to explore ways to deepen the knowledge on thermoform recycling by building partnerships with established industry players, such as The Recycling Partnership and the Association of Plastics Recyclers, and by leading research projects and pilots across North America. Among others, the organization plans to look into how increasing thermoforms concentrations can affect bottle and fiber production, as well as to assess the cost implications.

Charles David Mathieu-Poulin is a strategic advisor for the Circular Plastics Taskforce. For more information on the CPT and to access the full technical reports, visit To contact the CPT, please send an email to [email protected].

This article appeared in the Spring 2024 issue of Plastics Recycling Update. Subscribe today for access to all print content.

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Greater measurement for better management

Published: June 12, 2024


Courtesy of Stina Inc.

Stina Inc. collects data at a critical step in the plastic recycling value chain—from recyclers. These are companies that purchase and process scrap plastic into feedstock for remanufacturing. They are the engines of the recycling economy. While not the whole story, the data collected at this point in the value chains gives us an aggregated assessment of the total volumes of material recovered for recycling and acquired by markets for processing.

Measuring plastics relative to other materials and actions, along with benchmarking data throughout the value chain, is needed to deliver the insights for businesses and people to make continuous improvement and better choices to protect resources. Measuring where we are is essential if we are to implement strategies that support the recycling economy and ultimately the emergence of a circular economy.

Materials like paper, metal, glass and plastics have vastly different methods to measure what’s generated and what’s recycled. All materials face gaps in information available to fully capture how much gets generated and is available for recycling. In addition to production of goods in the United States, there is a significant amount of material entering and exiting the country on trucks, ships and planes carrying unfinished and finished goods and not everything produced and imported is used and discarded in that given year.

Based on the 2018 Advancing Sustainable Materials: Facts and Figures Report (Facts and Figures), EPA reported generation of plastic materials in three main categories: Durable Goods (38%), Non-Durable Goods (21%), and Containers and Packaging (41%), which are important distinctions for deployment of solutions. Another important distinction, and a challenge related to available data, is a clear understanding of the amount of material generated from residential (or individual use) versus commercial use.

Consistent, Transparent Data Reporting

Stina Inc. surveys recyclers (plastic reclaimers), exporters and other key players in the value chain to gather data on the pounds recovered for recycling. Once various items are collected (e.g., through curbside programs, drop off or sourced-separated by businesses) and consolidated for market, reclaimers or exporters (who sell to reclaimers overseas) acquire scrap plastic to process mostly into post-consumer resin, flake or other forms of feedstock to sell to manufacturers or for use directly in new products.

The data Stina Inc. gathers and reports has provided the consistent source of information for the pounds of post-consumer (and post-commercial) plastic recovered for recycling in the United States (and Canada). For nearly two decades this data contributed to the EPA’s determination of the recycling figure for the plastic recycling rate in their annual Facts and Figures reports on waste, recycling and composting. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been an update to that report since the 2018 data was published. Since then, various organizations have generated their own estimates, which will vary depending on methodology used.

How Data on Plastic Recycling is Available to the Public

Stina Inc. continues to track many key data sets and thanks to study sponsors, the pounds of post-consumer plastic recovered for recycling are made publicly available. The U.S. Post-consumer Plastic Recycling Data Report (2022) can be accessed through the Plastic Recycling Data Dashboard on This data is used in policy development and business planning by analysts, educators, and many other stakeholders.

The data gathering for the U.S. Post-consumer Plastic Recycling Data Report takes the better part of a year. Trust developed through years of relationship-building, neutrality in the marketplace, and strict confidentiality standards enable Stina Inc. to achieve the high participation rate from companies in a voluntary survey.

Stina Inc. developed and utilizes a secure internal information management system to track the marketplace. To ensure accuracy of the data provided and to prevent double- counting, Stina Inc. conducts follow-up calls with respondents. More details on the Methodology, Gaps and Assumptions are detailed in the public report, available through the Plastic Recycling Data Dashboard on

Getting Granular

Beyond gathering data on the commodities recovered for recycling, it’s important to have more granular segmentation of the data by resin and product type, particularly where traded commodities are a mix of product types and resin. Stina Inc. completed a National Bale Composition Study in 2022, as an update and expansion of previous studies. The data from the audit enables us to break out the commodities acquired by resin and product type (e.g., PP bottles versus PP non-bottle rigids) and to track the changes in the material stream over time. The primary purpose of the Bale Composition Study is to apply it to the annual study, but it also serves as important insight for industry. Beyond the insight conveyed through the annual plastic recycling report, bale audit details are available through Stina’s Insight Services ( A new bale audit study is slated to kick off soon.

Collaboration and Good Data Are Essential for Progress

Collaboration among industry, government and others as well as long-term planning are essential in the management of resources for future generations. Good data hinges on transparent methodologies and standard (or complementary) use of categories across studies. One example is utilizing the APR Guide for Plastic Sorting—Best Management Practices to support harmonization in waste composition studies or other data collection for plastic, which could help yield a much clearer picture on the national level.

Organizations like the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) recently published a report focused on the lost value of landfilled plastic (2022) as well as a report on losses from landfilled cardboard and paper (2023). And there are many other organizations working to fill data gaps to aid in better decision-making from upstream material choices to recycling solutions.

Shed Light on Misinformation

There has been a heavy focus on recyclability in recent years, which is essential for recycling. However, we also need to direct attention and resources to other critical parts of the recycling chain, including the use of post-consumer recycled content and increased collection of recyclable items. Greenwashing, or misleading customers about the environmental benefits of a product, is harmful, and it is also harmful to discourage the recovery of resources by casting doubt about recyclable materials. Misinformation in any form is damaging to the collective goal: managing resources sustainably so we may sustain life on Earth.

Recycling is Part of the Solution & We Need Greater Measurement

The year over year trends vary, but this much is clear: The gap between the amount of plastic produced and the amount recycled continues to grow. We can’t just recycle our way out of the current plastic waste problem. We need to reduce the amount of plastic and all materials we produce that become waste. That said, we also must recycle what we produce to create circularity. If the true cost of production and waste were accounted for, recyclers could have positive returns on investment for the new capacity needed to close the massive delta between virgin resin production and reclamation capacity. In the absence of new and critical economic policies to support this, brands and consumers alike can support more plastic recycling by supporting the companies producing post-consumer resin and using recycled content in products like those listed in the Buy Recycled Products Directory on

We will continue to work for better collaboration, more recycling data and more consistency in measurement points for recycled plastics and other commodities as a core underpinning of the actions needed to elevate recycling rates. With more use of recycled content and participation in recycling of recyclable items, we look forward to being able to report how recyclers are closing the delta between virgin resin and post-consumer resin production.

Nina Bellucci Butler is the CEO and Stacey Luddy is the COO of Stina Inc., which is a mission-based research and technology company providing unbiased guidance to governments, industry and NGOs in the movement toward circularity, navigating choices to preserve and recover the resources we use. The reality of plastics and plastic recycling has been a key focus of Stina’s work.

This article appeared in the Spring 2024 issue of Plastics Recycling Update. Subscribe today for access to all print content.

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