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First Person Perspective: Markets have shifted, but paper recycling is strong (just look at the numbers)

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The U.S. paper recovery rate has been at or above 63% each year for the past decade.

Every year, the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) releases the U.S. paper recovery for recycling rate. The annual figure informs us how much recovered paper is being used to create new products in a given year and is also an important indicator of how much paper and paper-based packaging is kept out of landfills after use.

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Data Sort: Worldwide expansion of packaging EPR

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The maps below demonstrate how extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs for packaging have spread around the globe over the last decade, with programs requiring packaging makers to fund recovery systems taking root in a variety of countries.

The maps were provided by Environmental Packaging International (EPI), a consultancy specializing in environmental compliance, product stewardship and sustainability related to packaging and products. EPI, More Recycling and IHS Markit are collaborating to produce a special report exploring the impact of regulations on plastics and analyzing how well the supply of recycled resin is positioned to satisfy demand. To learn more about the project and special report, visit ihsmarkit.com/products/sea-plastics-pathway.html.

Jan 2019 Data Sort

This month’s Data Corner is produced by More Recycling. For additional info, go to morerecycling.com.

This article originally appeared in the January 2019 issue of Resource Recycling. Subscribe today for access to all print content.

Data Corner: The ramifications of collecting less

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As communities and materials recovery facilities wrestle with challenging markets, some stakeholders are suggesting that programs should accept fewer materials for recycling.

Using EPA data, RRS estimated that removing glass and plastics other than PET and HDPE bottles would reduce the nation’s total tonnage recycled by 8 percent and lower the U.S. recycling rate by at least 2 percentage points.

These findings assume that participation and the materials still accepted would not be impacted, though in reality, program changes can cause confusion that can negatively impact collection of all materials. For perspective, the U.S. recycling rate (not including composting) only increased by 3.3 percentage points between 2005 and 2015.

Data Corner is compiled monthly by recycling consultancy RRS.

This article originally appeared in the December 2018 issue of Resource Recycling. Subscribe today for access to all print content.

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