The expected demise of the 31-year-old National Recycling Coalition underscores what many plastics recyclers say is the absence of a strong, single, nationwide voice to propel collection and recycling of all scrap materials forward.
Industry executives decry the lack of leadership to address recycling and collection issues nationwide, and the unwillingness of some large-brand producers to commit to using recycled content.
The NRC has been hamstrung in recent years, sources said, because of a division over bottle-deposit programs.
The industry needs to get behind deposit laws and the concept of extended producer responsibility, said one recycling official. If we don't do it now and wait until next year, the damage will be done.
We have to get serious about recycling in this country, said another executive. No one is looking at that larger picture ... so we can come up with some decent public policy. The larger picture is that we don't have a larger picture, because we don't have anyone saying here is where we need to go and this is how we are going to get there. We haven't had that type of leadership for a long time.
Some recyclers are working more closely with the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. of Washington because ISRI is trying to draw attention to how its members think government policies negatively affect recyclers.
The need for a unified voice to influence public policy also extends to sustainability, they said.
There is no sustainability without plastics recycling and no plastics recycling without public policy, said one executive. All the efforts are fragmented.
That is underscored by how some recyclers advocate curbside collection, others push deposit programs and some back pay-as-you-throw or incentive programs that pay consumers retail credits based on the amount of material they recycle.