The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) has launched new strategies to help to increase the recycling rates of packaging films. According to data from the 2013 National Postconsumer Plastic Bag & Film Recycling Report prepared by Moore Recycling Associates for the American Chemistry Council, there is tremendous opportunity in flexible film recycling. Over 1.0 billion lb of postconsumer film was recovered for recycling in 2013, but there is still additional recycling capacity for mixed postconsumer film in the U.S. and Canada. Mixed film and bags from retail collection showed a significant increase over 2012, second only to commercial mixed color material. End uses for recycled film are split almost evenly between lumber and film sheet, with lumber having a slight edge.
Keeping those statistics in mind, the vision for the film committee is that all packaging films are recycled. The basic strategies for achieving that vision are:
1. Drive more supply of high-quality clean film stock.
2. Support strong North American film markets.
3. Inspire consumers to recycle film packaging in a way that encourages the highest and best end use.
New film committee members include Trex, Procter & Gamble, EFS Plastics, WestRock (formerly MeadWestVaco and RockTenn) and PepsiCo, bringing the membership to more than 20 companies. “We are extremely pleased with the direction the APR Film Reclamation Committee has taken,” stated Jon Stephens, senior vice president at Avangard Innovative and chair of the APR Film Reclamation Committee. “This diversity of membership ensures that all points of view will be considered as the committee moves forward with its work.”
In addition, APR recently appointed Sandi Childs, a long time recycling industry executive, to direct its flexible film recovery efforts.
“We are very pleased that Sandi has agreed to manage our film and flexible packaging recovery efforts,” said Scott Saunders, general mManager of KW Plastics and chairman of APR. “Building upon the development of the APR Design Guide for Film and Model Bale Specifications, Sandi is already working with industry leaders to define clear strategies that will lead to increased recovery of flexible packaging for recycling. With over 30 years experience in our industry, including positions with Coca-Cola Recycling, NAPCOR and Southeastern Container, Sandi has the perfect combination of insight and understanding of all aspects of the recycling process.”
“The committee plans to collaborate with all stakeholders, as well as other APR committees, to expand and improve existing film recycling infrastructure,” said Sandi Childs. “We will also study and assess the impact of bags and films on MRFs and curbside collection, and explore possible ways to redesign collection strategies or MRF equipment so that bags might be accepted in curbside programs in the future.”