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ISRI issues statement on U.S. Senate letter to retailers regarding use of plastics packaging

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The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) has issued the following statement in response to a joint letter sent by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to retail companies Amazon, Walmart, Apple, Home Depot, Target, Wayfair, Best Buy, and Costco asking them to consider significantly reducing the amount of plastic used in their packaging.

ISRI welcomes the active stance being taken by these Senators on the need to address challenges with plastics packaging. They correctly recognize that most plastics packaging in current use is not recyclable and therefore ends up in landfills, and in certain situations, mismanaged such that it ends up in our waterways and oceans. Although alternative solutions may be in development, these challenges can be resolved today by boosting end market demand for recyclable plastics, including incorporating recycled plastic content in their required packaging. 

Another challenge related to plastics packaging is ‘wish-cycling' and the need for greater consumer awareness that while certain recyclable plastics, such as plastic films, can be recycled, they cannot be recycled through residential curbside collection programs. Legislation such as the RECYCLE Act will be vital in educating consumers on how they help direct materials such as plastic film to where they can be recycled.

The letter also references the increased use of e-commerce due to the global pandemic and asks the retailers how they plan to increase the total number of recyclable content in their products, ensure proper recycling of these products, consider moving towards packaging that can be recycled in a curbside bin, and more.

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