I am writing regarding actions the California Integrated Waste Management Board is taking to facilitate increased collection and processing of post-consumer plastic film into high-quality-demanding products. It is our hope that we can promote a culture of quality that will lead to a new and expanded market for post-consumer resin manufacturers.
Plastic film represents almost half of the total plastics, or 1.8 million tons, disposed in California, according to the board's 2003 Waste Characterization Study. A large part of that material could be recovered if we were able to overcome several technical, institutional, and economic barriers.
The board has a technical education working group whose main purpose is to identify steps for promoting the increased use of quality post-consumer resin (PCR). The working group is examining possible means for educating recyclers, processors and manufacturers about the benefits of producing and utilizing high-quality PCR as a manufacturing feedstock.
One approach is to promote use of Quality Assurance Guidelines recently developed by professor Joe Greene of California State University-Chico under contract to the board. The board has posted the final results of this study at www.ciwmb.ca.gov/pub lications/default.asp?pbid=1105.
The guidelines are designed to help plastic reprocessors establish successful quality-assurance programs. By doing so, the consistency in the quality of PCR is expected to improve. The guidelines contain instructions on how to inspect, monitor, test and track the quality of plastic materials, including film.
The guidelines call suggest PCR manufacturers develop quality policies and objectives, establish internal quality audits, train operators on quality control, use conventional and alternative testing methods, and implement quality management systems.
With all this in mind, the members of the technical working group, composed of experts from government and the recycling and film manufacturing industries, are planning to present the results of their efforts at a June 28 roundtable to be held at board headquarters in Sacramento. This presentation will be part of a whole-day roundtable session.
Board staff encourages representatives of PCR manufacturers and end users to participate in the roundtable. To obtain more information about the film recycling roundtable and other plastic recycling issues, please visit our plastic Web site at www.ciw mb.ca.gov/plastic.
California Integrated Waste