U.S. recycling industry united on goal of addressing key industry issues
Improving quality of the recycling stream and increasing demand for recyclables in the manufacture of new products focus of industry collaborative
In May, a group of organizations representing various segments of the recycling industry met to discuss ways to better collaborate to advance the industry as a whole. The initial meeting, which took place in Washington, DC, at the headquarters of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, was an open discussion aimed at identifying ways throughout the recycling stream to improve quality, increase demand for material, and promote products made with recycled content.
As part of the initial phase, the organizations have released the following statement of cooperation:
"As representatives of the complete recycling chain, we understand that improving the quality of the recycling stream and increasing the demand for recyclables in the manufacture of new products will deliver economic and environmental benefits nationwide. We commit to actively engaging with one another to enhance the nation's recycling systems, while simultaneously continuing our own organizations' work to influence change."
The groups have scheduled a meeting in August to determine specific courses of action and efforts to work on collectively.
Organizations participating in the effort include:
• American Forest & Paper Association
• Association of Plastic Recyclers
• Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries
• Keep America Beautiful
• Northeast Recycling Council
• National Recycling Coalition
• National Waste & Recycling Association
• Plastics Industry Association
• The Recycling Partnership
• Southeast Recycling Development Council
• Sustainable Packaging Coalition
• Solid Waste Association of North America.
Traditionally, waste management companies have operated using a simple "management of waste" approach to operating a MRF. Throughput targets and continuous operation (minimal downtime) were the main driving forces. The industry has changed however, and the focus moving forward is now on optimizing system performance and reliability, in conjunction with increasing recycling rates and a drive for a "greener" and more sustainable tomorrow.
When considering the addition of, or upgrade to, an "intelligent" MRF, for municipalities or private operators, the main factors should always be the client's (operator) current requirements, and evolving market needs, which include throughput, reliability, output quality, and adaptability. Equally important is a full understanding of what is really expected from any proposed system. Having an engaged and focused mindset for the project with the client from the beginning, will impact and drive the entire design process. This then impacts the overall project result, through to the productive, efficient, ongoing operation of the facility itself.