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Building a common language for promoting the buying and selling of recycled materials

Updated scrap commodity specifications meant to meet changing global recycling market needs

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The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) has launched a new initiative to update their Scrap Specifications in order to better meet the needs of the rapidly changing global marketplace for recycled commodities.

The initiative is being spearheaded by ISRI's Specifications Working Group, chaired by Randy Goodman of Greenland America, which has been tasked with advancing the goals of the specifications revamp.

"Given the huge challenges and opportunities facing the global recycling industry today, there has never been a greater need for a common language for promoting the buying and selling of recycled materials. ISRI is the leading organization to meet those growing needs and we're excited about how this initiative will help facilitate the sustainable trading and use of commodity-grade recyclables, which in turn generates tremendous economic and environmental benefits," according to Mr. Goodman.

The goals of the specifications initiative include: modernizing and promoting uniform language across the recycled commodity specifications; ensuring the relevance of existing specifications and identifying the need for new specifications; expanding their acceptance and use by market participants and governments alike; and transforming the ISRI Scrap Specifications Circular publication into a searchable, customizable digital resource with significantly improved interactive features and guidance.

The ISRI Scrap Specifications Circular was most recently updated in May 2020, following approval by the ISRI Board of Directors at its Winter Meeting, to incorporate new Inbound Residential Single Stream Specifications and Inbound Residential Dual Stream Specifications. The purpose of these specifications is to give Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) and municipalities a common vernacular to negotiate the items that comprise the material stream derived from a curbside collection program. The specifications describe not only the items that should be part of the system, but prohibitives and other materials that could be considered contaminants.

In conjunction with ISRI's commodity divisions, the Specifications Working Group is currently conducting a comprehensive review of all existing ISRI specifications and guidelines as a key first step, to be followed by a Request for Proposals to upgrade the specifications digital interface on the ISRI website.

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