A Look Forward to 2019

Greetings PLASTICS Recycling Committee members!  As the new chair of the Recycling Committee, I am looking forward to working with you and collaborating with the PLASTICS staff to deliver the ambitious agenda we have set for 2019. Before we look ahead, I want to thank the outgoing chair, Monica Filyaw, for her time, dedication, and leadership. I also want to thank all the subcommittee chairs and their members who get the work done. We have moved the ELV and NEMO projects forward in 2018, planned and facilitated Re|focus at NPE, supported PLASTICS advocacy on behalf of the industry with the infrastructure bill, explored new recycling technologies, and had fun while doing it.

I cannot say enough about Kim Holmes and Ashley Hood-Morley along with other staff at PLASTICS. Their leadership, organization, good humor, and vision make it a joy to work with them on the Recycling Committee projects, representing the industry at events and gatherings of other trade associations, and exploring the ever-changing recycling landscape. I would also be remiss if I did not mention our late CEO Bill Carteaux, who led the organization through its toughest times and established a vision for the future that was underpinned by its support of recycling and sustainability.

Our plates are full as we start the new year. Planning is well underway for Re|focus 2019 which will be in Grand Rapids, Michigan May 20-22. This year we have added new tracks in innovation, additives, vertical integration, and infrastructure and will present the Sustainability Innovation Awards in design, materials, and end-of-life recycling technology and practices. We have received over 25 submissions!

The Spring National Board Meeting in Washington, DC, March 26-29, will also include the Fly-In where we will continue to advocate for the industry and specifically, workforce development and recycling infrastructure. If you have never participated in a Fly-In, you need to add it to your recycled content bucket list.

In my role as a business development manager at Ravago, I read countless industry publications, newsletters, and blogs. I listen to podcasts, watch videos, and read books on sustainable business concepts and models. Since I have to also sell some plastic occasionally, there are events I cannot attend, articles I miss, technologies and innovations that I have not noticed or discovered. Our PLASTICS colleagues are similarly burdened with keeping up with ever changing business drivers here and overseas. As members of the Recycling Committee we need your eyes and ears, your reading lists, and whatever media you consume that you find impactful and share it with us. We want to know how the Recycling Committee can support your company in the challenges you are facing in 2019.

Last as we move forward into 2019, I am looking forward to working with all of our members but also those who will become members of PLASTICS and the Recycling Committee. Join the fun!

-Robert Render, Recycling Committee Chair

Organize Your Spring Calendar to Include PLASTICS! 

PLASTICS is hosting key events this spring that empower your companies to demonstrate leadership in sustainability and recycling. Don't miss these opportunities to learn, advocate and connect with other thought leaders in this space. 

Advancing Sustainability Webinar Series 

In-person Meetings 

What’s New at PLASTICS? 

Our New Campaign – PLASTICS is developing a comprehensive communications & advocacy campaign which will help to change the narrative of the current anti-plastics sentiment. The negativity toward plastic is growing and so is the number of people who are choosing not to use plastic products and packaging. We need to take action as an industry today and we need your help to do it. Email Patty Long, Interim President & CEO of PLASTICS at plong@plasticsindustry.org to learn how your company can get involved.

“Seeing A Person’s Life Change…That’s What Keeps Me Going” – Meet Erin Keaney, COO and co-founder of Nonspec, a company that is helping amputees in developing countries walk again with an adjustable and affordable prosthetic limb made from plastic parts. Check out this new story and more on This Is Plastics.

2018 Size and Impact Report Released – Last month, PLASTICS released its 2018 Size & Impact Report, which showed an increase in U.S. plastics industry jobs in 2017. During a webinar on January 9, Chief Economist Perc Pineda, PhD, led members through the report, revealing crucial benchmarking data and market insights. A copy of the presentation from the webinar is available here. Download the full Size & Impact Report and its summary here

Opportunities to Get Involved! 

New End Market Opportunities (NEMO) for Film – We are wrapping up Phase II of the project, which is testing end markets. We will have a report, containing projected end market demand numbers in March. Those interested in joining the next in-person meeting on March 26th can register here.

Recycling Infrastructure – Work continues on this bill, which was recently named Realizing the Economic Opportunities and Value of Expanding Recycling (RECOVER) Act by the coalition. If your company is interested in signing on as a supporter of this bill or if you have questions about the bill, please email Shannon Crawford, director of State Government Affairs at scrawford@plasticsindustry.org.

Showcase Your Commitment to Sustainability by sponsoring the 2019 Re|focus Sustainability & Recycling Summit! This year's summit will cover a range of critical issues and opportunities to meaningfully advance sustainability for the plastics industry. As a sponsor or exhibitor, you will have the opportunity to increase your visibility in front of the full plastics supply chain at this pivotal event. Contact Leslie Schmiesing at lschmiesing@plasticsindustry.org for more details. 

In Other News 

Alliance to End Plastic Waste – In January, a new initiative called the Alliance to End Plastic Waste was announced, which amounts to an industry funded pledge of over $1 billion to grow the formal solid waste management infrastructure in countries that are at greatest risk of plastics leaking into marine environments. PLASTICS applauds this important step and is committed to supporting the initiative through information sharing and collaboration, so we can collectively meet the important goal of ending plastic waste.

Commentary on Plastics – The commentary on plastics isn’t all negative. Amidst the unfavorable stories and photos, some still dare to challenge the common narrative and talk about the benefits of plastics as well as science-based decision making. Here are a few examples:

Where Else You Can See Us!

  • February 26 – 28: GreenBiz | Phoenix, AZ (Kim)
  • February 26 – 27: Plastics Recycling and Recovery Team Meeting | Tampa, FL (Ashley)
  • March 11 – 13: Plastics Recycling Conference | Washington, DC (Ashley)
  • April 1 – 4: SPC Impact | Seattle, WA (Kim)
  • April 8 – 11: North American Flexible Film and Bag Conference | Dallas, TX (Ashley)
  • April 30 – May 2: Rigid Plastics Packaging Group Spring Meeting | Sacramento, CA (Kim)