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
Companies & Associations

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

Image

Getting a real feel for how 'vinyl saves lives'

March 27, 2015 6:00 am ET

While I'm certainly not shipping off to Africa anytime soon, I got a taste of what medical professionals go through in the fight against Ebola and...    More

Image

Johnson's political outlook shaped by a plastics business view

March 27, 2015 6:00 am ET

When Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) traded plastics for politics in 2010, he didn't leave his business sense behind. He carried the lessons of 30 years in ...    More

Image

Customs snafu snags Boy Machines

March 26, 2015 9:42 am ET

ORLANDO, FLA. — With apologies to poet Robert Burns, this year’s NPE in Orlando definitely proved that “sometimes the...    More

Image

NPE nudges attendees to recycle

March 24, 2015 1:47 pm ET

A public awareness campaign developed by Keep America Beautiful is receiving prominent display at NPE 2015 as part of the show's overall effort to...    More

Image

SPI launching recycling summit

March 23, 2015 5:10 pm ET

The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. announced Monday at NPE 2015 that the plastics trade association will return to Orlando in 2016 for a brand ...    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

North America represents about 30 percent of the global consumption of flexible packaging. Annual growth in this region is forecast at 4 percent during the next 5 years.

For more insight on growth opportunities, drivers of growth and the outlook for 2015, download this report.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 billion plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events