Plastics continue to flood the waste stream, yet not nearly enough is returned to manufacturers for them to crank out their products at capacity. Instead, volumes of the would-be valuable commodity are stockpiling at landfills.
One problem is that processing some postconsumer resins can be a lot of work, often with little to no return. And another is that packaging continues to evolve, posing technical challenges to recyclers.
To tackle these issues, the plastics and solid waste and recycling industries have joined forces to devise best practices. Among the outcomes of those efforts is an innovative way to deal with foam polystyrene. There are also now incentives to encourage MRFs to process more quality PET. And stakeholders are assessing technologies to handle flexible film without having to overhaul existing MRF infrastructures.