At the 2022 Plastic Recycling Conference held March 7-9th in Oxon Hill Maryland business, recycling, and policy experts alike met to discuss the future of plastic disposal. Many brands have already set 2025 goals for increasing recycled content in their packaging and rapidly mobilizing recycling collection. However, these goals will not be met without the combined efforts of all involved parties and profound improvements to the United States’ current recycling system. One of the main points of discussion at the conference was the huge increase in demand for recycled resin spurred by recent brand and policy moves. In order to meet this demand, recycling rates of plastic must increase. Currently, the United States has been reliably recycling high density polyethylene (HDPE) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) for about 30 years, yet recycling rates are stagnant between 25% and 30%, while plastics in less mature markets, such as polypropylene (PP), are at even lower recycling rates. In order to meet business’ projected demands, the US will need to double the collection of most plastic resin for products with a 25% recycled content composition and triple collection for other resins to be able to supply enough to meet 50% PCR goals. With these extreme goals in mind, it is important for stakeholders to communicate with one another and establish policies that could improve and streamline recycled plastic collection. Some states such as California, New Jersey, and Washington have already passed laws requiring certain plastic products to contain more recycled content. As these statewide regulations begin to form across the US, it is important that funding also be provided to improve collection rates and provide recycling education. Efforts must be made by all parties to make a real difference in the recycling system and hit these newly established benchmarks.
CIRT is helping businesses to meet these goals by building a software to help determine the recyclability of products. Companies are able to learn about products, packaging, and material data so that circularity can be at the forefront of their designs. CIRT looks forward to providing this data for educational purposes, public access, and policy making. Intending to revolutionize the recycling sector and mitigate the plastic waste problem, CIRT’s forward-thinking platform is the future of recycling, ensuring that materials make it to their intended end-of-life.