A U.S.-Canada business group is implementing its plan to reduce plastic packaging waste and litter in the Great Lakes region.
Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Resource Recycling Systems Inc. announced Dec. 7 that it is working with the Council of Great Lakes Region on its Circular Great Lakes Initiative.
CGLR released the plan on June 28. Plastics companies supporting the project include Dow Inc., Charter Next Generation Inc., Dart Container Corp. and Pregis LLC.
The goal of the effort is reach a 50 percent recycling rate for plastics packaging by 2027.
Resource Recycling Systems, which previously worked with the paper industry to boost its recycling rates, performed what it calls a gap analysis, to assess the state of plastics collection and recycling.
The analysis found that to achieve the 50 percent goal, an additional 3 million tons of plastics with a commodity value of over $400 million must be recovered and recycled, requiring 60 percent more processing capacity across the region.
Mark Fisher, president and CEO of CGLR, said the group will encourage communities to accept more types of plastics in their collection systems, and to analyze what sort of sortation equipment is required to handle the material.
The group is also working with business to make sure there is demand for the increased volume of recycled plastics.
"We want to make sure within this action plan that we're creating the foundation for strong end markets, particularly for plastics and flexibles, within the Great Lakes region," Fisher said. "Because once you have a stable, sustainable marketplace with predictable and competitive pricing, that is going to create the pull for more of this material to be collected and processed and ultimately reused."
The group will also encourage U.S. states and Canadian provinces in the region to adopt policies that favor recycling and reusing materials. CGLR will develop a policy toolkit to provide to lawmakers.
"That's really the focus over the next five years is to really double down and accelerate work on the collection, the processing, the end market development policy, the consumer engagement and education and awareness that has to happen just to get the 50 percent recycling rate," Fisher said.