Only about 9% of plastic waste was recycled from the municipal solid waste stream in 2012, according to the latest figures available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This is a rate that has remained relatively unchanged for 10 years.
Robert Render, commercial manager with Ravago Recycling, told Plastics Technology there are now more complex applications, such as the use of multiple materials together for one product, which can make it difficult to recycle.
“Still, the industry has a good track record of finding the use for the material once it’s been identified and collected,” he said.
The potential to use recycled plastics in manufacturing is vast. After all, the U.S. plastics industry produces nearly $400 billion in products. Using recycled plastics presents a big opportunity across the supply chain, which is one reason why the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI), Washington, D.C., created the Re|focus Recycling Summit & Expo (April 25-27, 2016; Rosen Shingle Creek conference center and hotel in Orlando).
In collaboration with its Recycling Committee, SPI has designed the event to assist brand owners and processors on their environmental goals.
The summit launches with an evening reception on Monday, April 25, events on the next two days will include sessions within seven concurrent tracks. Conference track topics will include cutting edge recycling technologies, product engineering and design, supply chain management and manufacturing with recycled content, regulatory and compliance issues, industry-specific topics on recycling to recovery and use of recycled content, sustainability challenges and solutions and global manufacturing trends in recycled content. There will also be two plenary sessions with keynote addresses. An off-site plant tour is also in development.
“This is an industry-driven event,” said Kim Holmes, SPI senior director of recycling and diversions. “This is an opportunity of how we can take the plastics recycling discussion to the industry on a much larger scale. We really want to accelerate the adoption of the use of recycled content as well as other environmental goals for the industry.”
The programming team is seeking speakers who will participate in panel discussions and engage both other speakers and attendees through an active Q&A. Presentations should focus on practical implementation and application of leading best practices in the specific subject areas outlined. Those interested in submitting a speaker proposal can contact Ashley Patton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The expo floor is designed to be a solutions-based space featuring material suppliers, equipment suppliers, and recycling and sustainability service providers. Re|focus has received early exhibit commitments from several companies including ADG Solutions and Davis-Standard, Bunting Magnetics, Fukutomi Green Products, Kice Industries, Plastics Technologies Inc., Phoenix Technologies, Rapid Granulator, Ravago, United Recycling and WEIMA America.