Scrap recyclers adopt policy opposing bag bans, fees

Catherine Kavanaugh
WASTE & RECYCLING NEWS

Published: August 5, 2013 1:16 pm ET
Updated: August 5, 2013 1:18 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Public Policy, Sustainability, Recycling

A trade group that represents scrap recyclers has come out against efforts to ban or charge fees for recyclable paper and plastic shopping bags.

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries announced Monday that its board has adopted a policy to promote a market-based system for the trade of recyclable materials without restrictions or interference.

The policy says ISRI "opposes bans and fees on paper and plastic bags that are being manufactured into useful commodity grade materials and sold into viable, commercial markets without subsidies or noncompetitive, fixed pricing."

ISRI President Robin Wiener described the group's members as "quite concerned" about ban and fee decisions that governmental policymakers are making without considering the impact on recycling.

Many cities and counties have enacted plastic bag bans, taxes and fees. Proponents contend the measures reduce the number of plastic bags in landfills, trees, storm drains and recycling centers, where they clog sorting machines.

"No matter how good the intentions, these policy discussions should not be made in a vacuum," Wiener said in a statement. "Rather than bans and fees that take away jobs and increase costs to consumers, policy makers should take advantage of the great economic and environmental opportunities associated with responsibly recycling these bags."

In the United States, about 77 percent of paper mills rely on recovered fiber to make some or all of their products, according to ISRI, which also says recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees, 79 gallons of oil, 7,000 gallons of water, and 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.

For plastic recycling, ISRI says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cites significant energy savings of an estimated 50-75 million BTUs per ton of material recycled.

Joel Litman, president of Texas Recycling/Surplus, Inc., spokesman for ISRI's paper stock industries chapter, said his company recycles bags into valuable commodity grade materials that are sold to manufacturing plants all over the world to make finished products.

"Policymakers and consumers are often surprised to learn the important economic role that paper and plastic bags play in the continuous life-cycle of paper and plastic products," Litman said in a statement.

ISRI's new policy also calls for more retailers to provide convenient collection for plastic bags — an area where it sees some progress. In 2011, the trade groups says an estimated 151 million pounds of bags and sacks were collected for recycling, which represents a 19 percent increase over 2010.

Washington-based ISRI says proper recycling brings economic opportunities associated with the collection, processing, and reuse of paper and plastic bags.

The plastic bag industry employs more than 30,000 people directly, according to Phil Rozenski, director of sustainability and marketing for Hilex Poly Co. LLC, and a member of the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA).

APBA and other organizations have been successful in opposing bag bans and taxes in Oregon, California, Virginia, Maryland and Washington state.


Comments

Scrap recyclers adopt policy opposing bag bans, fees

Catherine Kavanaugh
WASTE & RECYCLING NEWS

Published: August 5, 2013 1:16 pm ET
Updated: August 5, 2013 1:18 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

California lawmakers give final approval to plastic bag ban

August 30, 2014 6:00 am ET

Under the measure, single-use plastic bags will be barred from California retailers, including grocery stores, convenience stores and drug stores, as ...    More

Image

Poor plastic coating prompts cable recall

August 29, 2014 2:10 pm ET

Australia's competition regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has ordered a major recall of 2,485 miles of electrical ...    More

Image

EPA fines RI polymer company

August 29, 2014 1:20 pm ET

A Rhode Island polymer manufacturer has reached a $60,000 settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for violating federal clean...    More

Image

Green trend boosts plastic building materials business in China

August 29, 2014 9:42 am ET

The greening of China's domestic building materials market is giving the plastics industry a boost.    More

California Assembly passes plastic bag ban

August 28, 2014 3:07 pm ET

In its second attempt of the week, the California Assembly approved a bill that would ban single-use plastic bags statewide, the first such ban in the...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events