APR releases Plastics Sorting Best Management Practices Guide
Goals include facilitating consistent data collection across multiple programs
In an effort to facilitate greater consistency in plastic sorting, the Association of Plastic Recyclers recently announced the development of The APR Plastic Sorting Best Management Practices Guide to standardize how data is collected in studies that seek to identify the composition of plastics in the waste and recycling stream. The goal of the guide is part of an overall effort by APR, the leading international trade organization representing the plastics recycling industry, to optimize plastics recycling across North America and beyond.
Developed in conjunction with the American Chemistry Council and More Recycling, the tool was unveiled during an APR Web Seminar last week.
The Plastic Sorting BMPs provide 3 levels of newly defined sorting categories that address a variety of factors considered when waste/plastic sorts are conducted, including:
• A community's specific recyclables list
• Anticipated waste stream
• Items considered problematic
"Optimizing plastic recycling requires understanding what types of plastic materials are in the recycling stream," commented Liz Bedard, APR's Director of Olefin/ Rigids Program. "Municipalities and states regularly sort waste/recyclables to understand their streams. If they utilize the APR Plastic Sorting BMPs, The flexibility with the sorting categories would allow all studies to draw comparisons, develop trending data, and improve overall knowledge about plastic waste composition."
Created to facilitate better data collection through consistent use of terminology and categorization, this guide defines plastic sorting categories by resin and form. The categories align with plastic recycling commodities that are traded once the material has been sorted at a MRF. The terms also align with annual plastic recycling tracking. If a study is not in a position to change categories, this guide may be utilized to add more clarity to existing category titles.
"APR strives to increase the supply, enhance the quality, and expand demand of recycled plastics. This resource directly addresses those goals, " commented Steve Alexander, President and CEO of APR. "We hope the plastics recycling industry will utilize the BMPS to improve recovery approaches, understand available volumes, identify trends, and anticipate needed capital investments."
The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) is The Voice of Plastics Recycling®. As the international trade association representing the plastics recycling industry, membership includes independent recycling companies of all sizes, processing numerous resins, as well as consumer product companies, equipment manufacturers, testing laboratories, organizations, and others committed to the success of plastics recycling. APR advocates the recycling of all plastics. Visit www.PlasticsRecyling.org for more information.
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.