A program designed to increase market demand for recycled plastics had a strong year in 2021, according to new statistics from the Association of Plastic Recyclers.
The APR Recycling Demand Champions program reports 138.7 million pounds of new demand for post-consumer resin was created last year by companies involved in the program. The new number was revealed at APR's recent membership meeting in Milwaukee.
APR created the Demand Champions program in 2018 to help drive use of recycled resin and reported that participating companies have combined for 384 million pounds of new demand since the effort's inception.
Ali Briggs-Ungerer, APR director of market development, said in a statement her group was "thrilled" with demand growth last year amid COVID-19.
"It's particularly remarkable that every single one of the 2021 Champions is a renewing program member, which really demonstrates their ongoing commitment to boost demand for PCR," she said.
The 138.7 million pounds of new demand in 2021 represents increased use of recycled plastics by the companies involved in the program, not the total amount used.
"The need for continued and growing demand for postconsumer recycled content is essential to the success of plastics recycling and a key focus for APR," said Steve Alexander, CEO of the trade group, in a statement. "Although we most certainly need more feedstock to achieve real growth, we must recognize the wide range of applications for recycled plastics."