By Heather Nortz
PLASTICS Associate, Sustainability and Materials
The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) is a signatory of the EPA’s America Recycles Pledge, which commits us to “participate in an ongoing dialogue to identify specific actions that we can take collectively with EPA and the other signatories, and within our respective organization, to improve the nation’s recycling system.”
We are proud to say that one of our newest contributions to this goal is #PlasticRecyclingWeek – a social media driven event that was piloted from November 15 through 19, 2021. This weeklong social media driven event stimulated meaningful conversation about recycling among over 300,000 participants.
The PLASTICS Recycling Committee established themes to focus on for each day during the week, which helped to organize the educational content posted from participant channels. For those who may have missed it, here’s a recap of the daily themes, along with examples of accompanying content.
Monday: Celebrating America Recycles Day / Recycling 101
The week kicked off with a celebration of America Recycles Day, the only nationally recognized day for acknowledging achievements and improvement opportunities for recycling. For the first day of our weeklong event, PLASTICS circulated videos like SciShow’s How Recycling Works and other resources to provide a basic understanding of the complex system that is recycling.
Tuesday: Buying Recycled
Creating demand for products containing recycled content gives value to the recycled material, incentivizing those in the supply chain to invest in recycling in order to fill that demand. To draw attention to this solution, we highlighted numerous everyday products that contain recycled plastic (e.g., Avient & BIC’s razor with over 60% recycled content).
Wednesday: Innovations in Recycling
This was a perfect opportunity to celebrate what we in the plastics industry have already improved upon for the US recycling system. Midweek we encouraged followers to post about innovations they have seen, or that their companies have achieved in the recycling space. One example we spotlighted was our 2021 Re|focus Leadership in Sustainability Innovation Award winner, Chevron Phillips Chemical and their Marlex® Anew™ Circular Polyethylene, made using advanced recycling technology.
Thursday: Advanced Recycling
One particular technology innovation that has gained much recent traction is Advanced Recycling. The industry is currently in the midst of numerous discussions about this technology and its potential benefit as a complement mechanical recycling in increasing recycling rates. Thursday was all about highlighting companies leading in this exciting new area, such as BASF, Braskem, Eastman, and ExxonMobil.
Friday: Continue Your Education
There is no way to fit all there is to know about recycling into one week of posts! So, on the final day of Plastic Recycling Week, we pointed out a handful of resources that interested participants can utilize to continue learning about current events in the recycling industry, as well as how to be effective players in the recycling system. ThisIsPlastics.com is an especially good resource to follow.
We want to express our heartfelt thanks to all who participated in the week by using the #PlasticRecyclingWeek hashtag and sharing information about recycling with their audiences. Stay tuned in 2022 for information on the second iteration of Plastic Recycling Week.
In the meantime, continue the recycling conversation with us at our next two Re|focus events!