The Association of Plastic Recyclers will research ways in which materials recovery facilities might be able to recover more smaller sized plastic containers, which are often lost during sortation. That was one of several actions the group announced at a recent meeting.
The announcement that the group will pursue a small container capture protocol was made at its annual membership meeting, held Oct. 4-6 in Charlotte, N.C.
In an interview with Resource Recycling, Steve Alexander, executive director of the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), said the group wants to address current struggles among processing facilities to capture small containers for recycling. Containers three inches and smaller often fail to survive MRF sortation and end up in residue.
The new project will explore what needs to happen within a MRF to allow it to capture more small plastic containers. The first step will be exploring what MRFs are already doing to capture them, Alexander said.
On the topic of designing goods with recycling in mind, APR will be presenting on the group’s Design Guide for Plastics Recyclability at an Oct. 25 meeting at Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. The meeting will draw Walmart product suppliers and cover the retailer’s expectations for the sustainability of packaging on its shelves.
The more brand owners that are aware of and implement the design guide, the more recovered plastic there will be available, Alexander said. That will boost the recycling rate and yield more recycled content for consumer product companies.
As part of another effort to ensure communication between manufacturers and the recycling industry, APR is working on a MRF bulletin to keep sortation facilities informed of new packaging coming on the market, said Kara Pochiro, APR communications director.
When product makers make a change in packaging, they’ll be able to share details of the change, including photos, with MRFs via the electronic bulletin. That bulletin is still going through the review process, she said.