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Postconsumer plastics group outlines policies

For the first time in its history, the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APPR) has taken positions on ...


For the first time in its history, the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APPR) has taken positions on legislative proposals, the first step in positioning the organization as a key contributor to the policy debates that impact plastics recycling.

The APR, a Washington, DC-based trade organization whose members represent more than 90 per cent of the plastic bottle recycling capacity in North America, “has been working for several years on programs to address the number one issue for our industry-generating a stable supply of raw material for our facilities-in this case recyclable plastics,” said Bill O’Grady, Vice President of Operations for Talco Plastics in Corona, California, and Chairman of APR. “It became more apparent as time went on that as an organization, we needed to engage in the public debate on issues relating to plastics recycling.”

O’Grady added, “While there have always been other organizations commenting on the plastic recycling marketplace, we have recently come to realize there was a critical voice missing-that of the reclaimer. APR members are uniquely qualified to comment on issues of collection of plastics. Our members are where the rubber meets the road-it is in our plants that collected material is ultimately transformed into feedstock for new and enhanced uses-be it plastic bottles, fiber for carpeting, strapping, etc. We felt it was important for us to make sure our input was provided in the debate on these issues.”

The APR approved the legislative positions at their spring meeting last month. Gerry Fishbeck, Vice President of URRC in Spartanburg, SC, and chairman of the APR Government Relations Committee, said APR wanted to be sure that policy makers understand the broad implications of their decisions on plastics recycling, and to realize that rarely is there a “silver bullet” when it comes to recycling issues.

“One of the things that is very important to the APR is that these positions are viewed within the context of the full picture of the issues. We are not simply taking these positions in order to add our voice to one side or another on the issue of the day. These positions were taken with the caveat that APR involvement will help address the biggest issue facing APR members-the issue of supply of recyclable plastics, and that the engagement of APR in this debate will help provide some answers.”

“For instance”, he noted, “take legislation requiring recycled content in packaging. It is critical to note that we are not simply saying ‘We support recycled content.’ Rather, we address the entire range of the debate. We encourage policy makers when considering the content issue that they should address increasing supply, not simply looking to increase the demand side. They need to also focus on enhancing the supply of material available that will ultimately end up as content.

“Similarly, APR does not support deposit legislation in states that currently do not have deposit laws. However, it is critical to our members that current laws not be repealed and preferably expanded to maintain or increase the current supply. That is an important distinction, and an example of the type of dialogue we hope to foster,” he said.

The four positions taken by APR include support of legislation calling for recycled content to be required in certain containers; opposition to efforts to repeal any of the existing 11 deposit programs already in place as well as support for legislation expanding deposit legislation in those states to include all non-carbonated plastic bottles such as water and juice bottles; and support for legislation that would ban the disposal of certain plastic bottles in landfills. (Position statements below.)

“These issues are among the most hotly debated issues on recycling in state houses across the country today”, added O’Grady. “We need to make sure that policy makers have all the information available to them in making their determinations. We feel we can help in that area.”

The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) is the national trade association representing companies who acquire, reprocess and sell the output of more than 90 per cent of the post-consumer plastic processing capacity in North America. Its membership includes independent recycling companies and organizations committed to the plastics recycling industry. It strongly advocates the recycling of post-consumer plastic packaging. Contact them at www.plasticsrecycling.org

Contact:
Steve Alexander, APR Director
Call: 202-316-3046
Email: salexander@cmrgroup4.com

APR POSITION STATEMENT
5/30/06
LEGISLATIVE ISSUE:
Expansion of current deposit laws to include non-carbonated bottles

APR POSITION: The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) and its members collectively represent more than 90 per cent of the post-consumer plastics recycling capacity in North America. APR members have a direct interest in the enhancement of post-consumer plastics recycling.
The APR supports the expansion of existing deposit collection programs to include non-carbonated bottles such as used water and juice containers made of PET and HDPE resin; when such expansion is proposed by State Legislative bodies in states that currently have deposit laws.

Value: Expansion of current bottle bills would significantly increase the supply of high quality post-consumer plastic waste for recyclers and end users.

Current Legislative Activity: Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and several additional states are considering such proposals.

APR POSITION STATEMENT
5/30/06
LEGISLATIVE ISSUE:
The Repeal of Existing Sate Deposit Laws

APR POSITION: The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) and its members collectively represent more than 90 per cent of the post-consumer plastics recycling capacity in North America. APR members have a direct interest in the enhancement of post-consumer plastics recycling.

The APR opposes efforts to repeal existing State Deposit Laws related to beverage containers.
Value:
No alternative mechanism has been identified to replace existing deposit laws that would provide a similar stream of consistent, high volume, high-quality supply generated by these programs. The loss of this supply would have significant consequences for the plastics recycling industry and the recycling infrastructure.

Current Legislative Activity: Since 2001, various states including Hawaii, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York have experienced repeal efforts.

APR POSITION STATEMENT
5/30/06
LEGISLATIVE ISSUE:
Landfill Bans

APR POSITION: The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) and its members collectively represent more than 90 per cent of the post-consumer plastics recycling capacity in North America. APR members have a direct interest in the enhancement of post-consumer plastics recycling.

The APR supports legislation to ban post-consumer plastic bottles from being landfilled.
Value: In the past several years, the recycling rate in North America has remained constant. Post-consumer plastics recyclers support the expansion of collection and recycling of all plastic bottles. APR supports legislation to implement landfill bans on plastic bottles that may otherwise be suitable for recycling.

Current Legislative Activity: North Carolina has passed and New York and Wisconsin have considered landfill bans. Other States may consider landfill bans in 2006-2007.

APR POSITION STATEMENT
5/30/06
LEGISLATIVE ISSUE:
Post-consumer Recycled Content

APR POSITION: The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) and its members collectively represent more than 90 per cent of the post-consumer plastics recycling capacity in North America. APR members have a direct interest in the enhancement of post-consumer plastics recycling.

AP
R supports Post-Consumer recycled content legislation.

In addition, the APR strongly recommends supporting legislation to increase co
llection and supply of post-consumer recycled plastics in order to augment and sustain recycled content initiatives.
Value:
Recycled content legislation will increase the market opportunities for member companies. This legislation increases the commitment of all stakeholders to advance the recycling process and prompts awareness to meeting the recycling industry’s supply requirements.

Current Legislative Activity: Currently California has this type of legislation, and Oregon has a postconsumer content requirement if the Rigid Plastic Packaging rate drops below 25 per cent. Georgia, New Jersey and Wisconsin are considering it.


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