Next Markets

Exploring how companies can create more demand for recycled materials.

This committee’s mission is to work together to identify opportunities and best practices for using recycled content in durable goods and in packaging. The goal is to catalyze action through partnerships, commitments, and strategies that SPC members can implement inside their organization.

SPC team lead:

Trina Matta, Senior Manager

Co-Chairs:

  • Kim Carswell, Target, 
  • Sandra Lewis, Envision
  • Dave McClain, Printpack

Are you a current SPC member who wants to join the committee? Email trina.matta@greenblue.org

Not an SPC member yet? Become a member by applying today.  

To support a strong recycling market, we must have strong end markets. So how can different players along the value chain (from retailers to NGOs to preprocessors) support end markets in their business?

 

Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs)

Make quality bales

  • Invest in technology to sort complex plastics
  • In the case of film, to sort different kinds of films from other films, i.e. LD from HD bales
  • Example technologies include: NIR sorters, film grabbers, density-based air separaters, ballistic separators

 

Resin Suppliers

Make material market ready

  • Conduct research and development projects to make recycled grades as high performing as virgin grades (i.e. thermal stability tests, degradation studies, etc)
  • Invest in compatibilizer technologies
  • Invest in other additives – antioxidants, tracers, etc

 

Equipment Suppliers

Make material market ready

  • Invest in filtration equipment – inclusion reduction
  • Invest in compounding equipment – gel reduction
  • Invest in devolitizing equipment – measurements of what is coming off

 

Reprocessors

Invest in continuous improvement

  • Invest in improved processing technology (venting, filtration, additives, devoltizing)
  • Provide source transparency (high level)
  • Communicate and collaborative with MRFs on quality needs

 

Converters

Test material for new markets

  • Invest in the development of packaging that supports circularity
  • Test recycled content to see how it performs – try different percentages of recycled materials, talk with leading reproducers like UltaPoly, Avangard, others
  • Help vet the supply chain (GMP, process mapping, etc)
  • Invest in necessary equipment
  • Help search for additional customers/end markets

 

Brands & Retailers

Incorporate recycled content in products and operations

  • Look for ways to use recycled content in your brands
    • Be specific (i.e. how much you want in, what the source should be, etc). Be clear about the vision of the goal will get you there faster
    • Consider what you are willing to change (performance specs, appearance, costs). Where is there room to be flexible?
  • Help search for more end markets in your supply chain, use global leverage
  • Align your goals with recycled content end markets
  • Leverage connection to consumers to understand where they are and what they are looking for
  • Get reporting and information flow with suppliers
  • Share learnings with industry peers

 

NGOs and Others

Promote action & help industry

  • Utilize data to drive action. Pictures elicit an emotional response (sometimes necessary), data directs that response into powerful change
  • Challenge the value chain to not accept the status quo and to continuously improve
  • Engage the capitalists to bring innovations that can survive a competitive global marketplace
  • Be specific about the details of policy, avoid use of the phase “common sense” in presentations to industry

Everyone

  • Use metrics, S.M.A.R.T. goals and track your progress
  • Embrace the value of packaging and need for better end of life options
  • Support and join industry initiatives

Other Collaborative Projects

Additional ways that companies can learn more about this topic and get involved:

New End Market Opportunities (NEMO) 
Led by the Plastics Industry Association
Goal – To determine ways to strip out processing costs to find new end markets for recycled plastic bags and wraps.

APR Demand Champions:
Led by The Association of Plastic Recyclers

APR Recycling Demand Champions commit to purchase new volume PCR through “work in process” (WIP) durable goods, or other applications for PCR, and thereby play a prominent role in expanding the market for mixed residential plastics, driving investment, increasing supply and producing more high quality PCR. This campaign also includes any and all NEW applications for PCR.

Each company below signed the APR Recycling Demand Champion Commitment Letter.  These forward thinking, proactive organizations are playing a prominent role in expanding the market for mixed residential plastics, thus driving domestic investment, and increasing high-quality PCR supply

Materials Recovery for the Future (MRFF)
Members of the Materials Recovery for the Future Collaborative share a simple vision: Flexible packaging is recycled curbside and the recovery community captures value from it.