A new program is being launched by a trade group in an effort to expand market demand for recycled plastics in North America.
The Association of Plastic Recyclers has created the APR Recycling Demand Champion Challenge, a push to increase the use of post-consumer polypropylene and polyethylene.
So-called "work in process" items, such as tote boxes, pallets and trash cans, for example, used to carry materials during the manufacturing process are a focus of the campaign.
Participants, called Demand Champions, will commit through a letter of intent to "identify and use these WIPs in their facilities and require [post-consumer] content in them. As the program adds more participants, this will increase the demand for postconsumer recycled polyolefins," APR said.
"This program will drive demand for broad specification PCR [post-consumer recycled] produced from mixed residential plastics," said Liz Bedard, APR Rigid Plastic Recycling Program director, in a statement. "We have identified potential end markets for PCR in WIP durable goods such as crates, tote boxes, cans, pails, drums, trash or recycle bins, pallets, transport packaging and other items."
APR already has signed up several well-known names: Berry Global Group Inc., Campbells Soup Co., Coca-Cola North America, Envision Plastics, Keurig Green Mountain Inc., KW Plastics, Merlin Plastics, Plastipak/Clean Tech Inc., Procter & Gamble Co. and Target Corp.
Companies will report their progress on the increased use of recycled content. Those statistics will then be aggregated and collectively reported.
"The initial participants represent a starting point. We began approaching companies in the past several weeks, and have been greatly encouraged by the response," APR Executive Director Steve Alexander said in a statement. "Now that the program has been launched, recruitment efforts will accelerate, and we anticipate announcing a broader group of participants of companies of all sizes and industry focus."
Alexander called the program "a critical step in expanding the use of PCR in the marketplace."
"It represents a major shift in the paradigm of major brands and manufacturers in identifying an expanded menu of options for the use of recycled material in a broader array of products," he continued in his statement.
The challenge is open to anyone, said Steve Sikra, associate director for solid waste management at P&G and chairman of the APR Rigids Committee, in a statement.