Today is America Recycles Day, so we're giving you an all-recycling edition of Kickstart.
Let's start granular. For those in the business of plastics recycling, there's good news in the form of higher prices for recycled resins, as documented in this Nov. 1 report from the Solid Waste Association of North America.
SWANA notes markets seeing near-record prices as consumer brand companies announce plans to use a lot more recycled plastic. That point gets echoed at recycling industry events where the talk is on high prices, elevated demand and a long-sought decoupling of pricing for recycled plastic and virgin plastic.
Our newsroom certainly gets announcements on a daily basis from companies investing in plastics recycling.
But our pages are also filled with companies facing big challenges and even with the new investments, falling rates for plastic recycling. In spite of the money coming in, plastics recycling in the U.S. is not healthy.
What's needed is investment in the public end of packaging recycling — the city-side collection — in addition to companies building factories. But society hasn't yet figured out who pays for that (our taxes vs. extended producer responsibility) and whether local governments see enough permanent change in markets to trust them.