What's in a name? A lot — actually too much — as far as the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers is concerned.
That's why the trade group is changing its moniker to better reflect its evolution over the years.
Meet the Association of Plastic Recyclers as the outfit is dropping “postconsumer” from its name, but certainly not from its mission.
“It just more reflects what our members are already doing. They are not just restricted to post-consumer stuff ... Good material is good material for our guys,” Executive Director Steve Alexander said Oct. 15. And that includes post-commercial and post-industrial materials.
The group has been known as APR since its creation in 1992 to primarily deal with PET collection issues at the time, so the new name still matches the acronym, Alexander said.
As APR has grown over the years, both in terms of membership and scope of interest beyond just plastic bottles, the decision to change the name made more sense.
APR board members, just this summer, hashed out some organizational changes to help manage this wider view and talked about the idea of a name change as well, Alexander said.
Full membership voted to approve the name change at the latest APR meeting attended by about 200 in Indianapolis.
“We asked for a voice vote. If there was a concern, we were then going to go to the ballot voting. But no, there was not a ‘nay' uttered,” Alexander said. “All the ballots I had printed up went for naught. That's what I use for scrap paper in my office.”
Alexander himself actually was a bit surprised that there was absolutely no pushback about the name change during the membership meeting.
“It was almost like a no brainer,” he said.
Scott Saunders is chairman of APR and said the board has been discussing the idea for about 18 months.
“We did not want to limit ourselves by having ‘postconsumer' in our name when in fact we are the voice of plastics recycling,” said Saunders, who is also general manager of KW Plastics Recycling Division in Troy, Ala.
He's serious about that. APR has trademarked that very phrase — “The Voice of Plastics Recycling” — as part of its identity.
“With all our new growth, the name change more reflects how our members operate. We did a little polling of our membership that reclaim material and we found that the vast majority of our members reclaim post-consumer, post-industrial, post-commercial,” Saunders said.
APR started out, all those years ago, as a small group interested in recycling bales of PET and high density polyethylene bottles.
But that's changed over time with members now recycling a wide variety of plastics beyond the post-consumer market.
“We wanted our name to reflect what our membership is actually doing today,” Saunders said. “The market has changed a lot in the last 23 years. And the member companies have changed a lot since then.”
Alexander said having “postconsumer” in the organization's name lead some to believe that its membership only handled post-consumer recyclables.
“We represent everybody who recycles plastics,” Saunders said. “It allows us to accurately portray ourselves in the media and in the public as to what we are doing on a day-to-day basis as an organization.”