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PET is not to Blame for Recycling Plant Fires

Today's guest blog is courtesy of NAPCOR. The original post can be read here.

As NAPCOR continues to make progress in proactively shaping the narrative about PET on one front, we also take a strong defensive stand against stories that clearly don’t get it right.

Unfortunately, we find ourselves in this position all too frequently. Memorably, last November the Washington Post ran the story of Alaska Airlines’ switch to boxed water. The decision was based on a deeply flawed LCA study that was not compliant with ISO standards and tailored to produce a specific desired outcome. In situations like this—when all plastics are treated alike in the media, or when the positive attributes of an alternative packaging material are exaggerated—PET takes more of an indirect hit. In the case of Alaska Airlines, we responded with truths outlined in

Greenpeace vs Recycling: What Wasn't Said

Today's guest blog is authored by NERC board member Chaz Miller. The original post can be read here.

Circular Claims Fall Flat Again is Greenpeace’s latest assault on plastic recycling. Not only does Greenpeace say it is failing now, they confidently predict it will always be a failure. Instead, we should phase out all single-use plastics and shoot for “at least 50 percent reusable packaging by 2030.” Greenpeace came to bury plastic recycling, not to praise it.

Needless to say, the report caused a ruckus. The press picked it up, with reporters repeating the report’s claims without bothering to fact check. Recyclers and plastics trade associations disagreed with it while anti-recyclers fervently endorsed it.

How a Washington initiative is creating a just circular economy

NextCycle's programs centered community voices from the beginning.

Worth it: Building demolition and reuse

Today's guest blog is authored by Suz Okie of GreenBiz Group. The original post can be read here.

Back in 2016, my grandmother’s charming, but outdated 1941-built home was being torn down. Making way for the modern trappings of new construction, its demolition — while distressing to my family — was not an uncommon fate.

Hundreds of thousands of homes in the U.S. are demolished each year, and building demolition accounts for more than 90 percent of the 600 million tons of construction-related waste generated in the country each year — a volume projected to balloon to 2.2 billion tons globally by 2025.

Considering my profession, it won’t shock you that I found discarding the materials that comprised my grandmother’s house — my mother’s childhood home — unappealing.…

7 reuse trailblazers you need to know in 2022

Today's guest blog is authored by Suz Okie of GreenBiz Group. The original post can be read here.

When it comes to reusables, I’m a fanatic, an enthusiast, a fan — insert any number of zealous descriptors and you wouldn’t be far off.

That’s in part because my journey to circular economy analyst began with a reusables obsession — following a graduate school commitment to stop buying single-use packaging (a goal I, admittedly, often fell short on), finding innovative reusable solutions became a personal addiction.

Reusables offered a tangible step towards the waste-free world I hankered for. In the food service industry alone, leveraging reuse could avoid 841 billion disposable packages annually, equating to 7.5 million tons of trash diverted. In fact, when comparing serviceware options,

In COVID-era trash surge, waste management ingenuity, circularity, and investments are key

Today's guest blog is courtesy of the World Bank. The original post can be read here.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and with little warning, municipalities suddenly faced unique waste management challenges: massive upticks in daily waste volumes combined with curtailed garbage collection and cutbacks in recycling. While workplace waste production fell at the pandemic’s height, household waste rose to a degree that offset the decrease in commercial waste. With the exponential increase in the number of ill patients needing treatment, medical waste volumes surged as well. 

Regions with poor waste management infrastructure were least able to handle the rapid influx of additional waste, which in many cases overwhelmed existing dump sites or landfills, amplifying negative environmental and social impacts.

Against this backdrop, the waste management industry is responding with ingenuity, creativity, and resilience. Consider…

How Much Can We Recycle?

A friend of mine likes to say the only thing wrong with recycling rates is the numerator and the denominator. I was reminded of this when I read about a study suggesting the 91.4 percent recycling rate for cardboard boxes, also known as old corrugated containers (OCC), is too high.

Why I support regulating my industry

Packaging EPR laws represent a critical lever to improving the packaging supply chain.

APR: The Demand for Recycled Material Has Never Been Stronger

Anyone with the least interest in recycling has heard the drumbeat of bad news. Recyclables diverted to landfills. Plastics recovery via recycling at a moribund less than ten percent. Regarding the percentage of plastics being recycled, Steve Alexander of the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) wrote in a recent NERC blog, “The authors [of a report on plastics recycling rates] intentionally failed to acknowledge that the low numbers they cite include ALL plastic items, including durable plastic items not collected through community recycling programs.

“The fact is that 21 percent of PET, polypropylene and high density polyethylene rigid plastic packaging — the kind of plastic that makes up the majority of consumer packaging and what consumers put in their blue bins — is recycled,” Alexander reported.

Kara Pochiro, APR’s Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs,

The Truth on Recycling

Today's guest blog is authored by Keefe Harrison of The Recycling Partnership. The original post can be read here.

Frustrated that recycling isn’t fixing the world’s waste problem? Here’s the truth: as it’s built now, it never will.  If we think we can just keep making and buying whatever we want without any planning for what happens when we’re done with that thing, recycling will never keep pace and we’ll always be let down. 

However, if we stop, and take on the hard but impactful work of planning and building a better system, one that involves reducing what we make in the first place, reusing more, and recycling all that we can, now that’s a different matter. I believe that if you don’t like something, you should work to change it. That’s what The Recycling Partnership is all about – hands on, hard work to overturn the status quo – driving for a better recycling…