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Review of Signage Studies – Pt 1: Purdue University’s 2018 Research Project

Today's guest blog is authored by Alec Cooley of Busch Systems. It is first in a three-part series. The original post can be read here.

recycling bins Busch Systems signage

Alec: Welcome to the second post in our ongoing blog series exploring the intersection of recycling behavior and bin and signage design.  Our goal with these is to build a bridge between the academic world and that of “practitioners” (i.e. recycling and facilities managers).  As we observed in our first installment, a lot of research has been done to understand what influences people’s…

We Need to Rebuild the Recycling Brand

Today's guest blog is authored by Alec Cooley, Senior Advisor at Busch Systems. The original post can be read here.

I have a good friend, Bill, who I know through our local Sierra Club group. Bill has walked the talk as an environmentalist for over 40 years. There are few people I know more passionate or committed to taking action on behalf of conservation issues.  So, it’s a little disturbing when he periodically questions the value of separating recyclables.

This earnest question was also at the core of an exchange of professional listserv messages I had with a university sustainability officer recently. The person cited a 2019 NPR Planet Money investigative story that said in as many words that plastics recycling was a fraud, promoted by the petroleum industry and consumer brand companies to distract from the inherent wastefulness they profit from. The story argued that not only was the…

Plastics recycling is working

Today's guest blog is authored by Steve Alexander, president and CEO of NERC Advisory Member the Association of Plastic Recyclers. The original post can be read here.

I recently read the report on plastics recycling rates by The Last Beach Cleanup and Beyond Plastics and, like many of you, it certainly was not good for my blood pressure. The pitiful white flag of surrender raised by the reports' authors certainly does not speak for the tens of thousands of Americans employed by our industry who, amidst a global pandemic, recycled nearly 5 billion pounds of plastic in 2020.

I received calls and emails from a number of APR members pointing out that the authors' disingenuous claim of low recycling numbers was achieved by parsing data, resulting in publishing an unfair and distorted assessment of our industry for the public.

Let's be clear: the debate about plastics recycling today is focused on containers consumers buy and use daily — soda bottles, milk jugs, yogurt tubs, etc. The authors…

3 observations about circular packaging, from the experts

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

Everyone who participates in the modern economy understands that packaging needs to be improved, right? 

Honestly, I get frustrated when it takes 10 minutes to get a kid’s toy out of the package. After extraction, I have the pleasure of scrutinizing every component to see if it’s recyclable (note: If I have to examine, it’s usually not recyclable). I don’t even want to think about what the average consumer does with toy packaging. I’m sure it’s horrifying.

Then there are people like the other 600 attendees at the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) Impact conference, which took place in San Francisco earlier this month. This group of people understands packaging. They know why a bottle of pain reliever is sold in a box even though the bottle protects the contents, and they know why the box…

What Do We Want From EPR?

As the political debate on how to pay for recycling continues, we need to focus on EPR’s strength of providing money for recycling. We need to accept that it won’t stabilize recycling markets or change packages. Done properly, it can raise recycling rates and stabilize programs. Every Paradise, however, comes with a snake.