ISRI2023 provides first look at Stina post-consumer plastics report
At ISRI2023 in Nashville, Nina Butler, CEO of Stina, Inc., reported on the recently released 2021 U.S. Post-consumer Plastic Recycling Data Report. The Stina report was co-funded by ISRI and details U.S.-sourced post-consumer plastic recovered for recycling.
"Recyclers processed more than 5 billion pounds of post-consumer plastic recovered for recycling in the U.S. in 2021, an increase of 5.8 percent from the previous year," says Butler. "For the second consecutive year, recycling of post-consumer film increased, to more than 1.1 billion pounds. Also in 2021, mixed retail film posted an increase."
The increase in 2021 volumes recovered for recycling in the U.S. show that all major categories of plastic recovered for recycling had a net increase in total pounds reported in 2021 compared to 2020, specifically bottles, non-bottle rigid, and film plastics. Within those broader categories, there was a slight decline in the recovery of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) bottles and polypropylene (PP).
"The recycled materials industry is doing more than ever to ensure that at the end of a product's life, less material goes to waste," says ISRI President Robin Wiener. "Our goal is to make the supply chain even more sustainable by providing manufacturers with high-quality material and reducing the need to extract natural resources to make new products we rely on every day."
The 2021 report also indicates that the vast majority of plastics recovered are being recycled in North America, primarily by U.S. reclaimers. North American plastic reclaimers acquired a total of 4,693 million pounds, or 92.3 percent, with 391 million pounds, or 7.7 percent of plastic recovered for recycling bound for overseas export markets.
Butler released the details of the report at ISRI2023 during "The Spotlight on Plastics" session. Other panellists include Cherish Changala, vice president of sustainability and public affairs at Revolution and J. Scott Saunders, general manager at KW Plastics. The moderator was Brent Moncrief, director of strategic growth at Lindner Recyclingtech America.