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APR Releases Plastics Sorting Best Management Practices Guide

Plastics Decorating

In an effort to facilitate greater consistency in plastic sorting, the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), Washington, D.C., recently announced the development of “The APR Plastic Sorting Best Management Practices Guide” to standardize how data is collected in studies that seek to identify the composition of plastics in the waste and recycling stream.

The goal of the guide is part of an overall effort by APR to optimize plastics recycling across North America and beyond. Developed in conjunction with the American Chemistry Council and More Recycling, the tool was unveiled during a recent APR webinar. The guide provides three levels of newly defined sorting categories that address a variety of factors considered when waste/plastic sorts are conducted, including:

  • Budget
  • A community’s specific recyclables list
  • Anticipated waste stream
  • Items considered problematic

“Optimizing plastic recycling requires understanding what types of plastic materials are in the recycling stream,” said Liz Bedard, APR’s director of Olefin/Rigids Program. “Municipalities and states regularly sort waste/recyclables to understand their streams. If they utilize the APR Plastic Sorting BMPs, the flexibility with the sorting categories would allow all studies to draw comparisons, develop trending data and improve overall knowledge about plastic waste composition.”

Created to facilitate better data collection through consistent use of terminology and categorization, the guide defines plastic sorting categories by resin and form. The categories align with plastic recycling commodities that are traded once the material has been sorted at a materials recycling facility (MRF). The terms also align with annual plastic recycling tracking. If a study is not in a position to change categories, the guide may be utilized to add more clarity to existing category titles.

“APR strives to increase the supply, enhance the quality and expand demand of recycled plastics. This resource directly addresses those goals,” said Steve Alexander, president and CEO of APR. “We hope the plastics recycling industry will utilize the BMPs to improve recovery approaches, understand available volumes, identify trends and anticipate needed capital investments.”

For more information, visit www.plasticsrecycling.org.