21 September 2016
By Elisabeth Comere, director environment & government affairs for the U.S. and Canada
Recycling is more than placing a plastic bottle or paper into any receptacle featuring the familiar three-arrow logo. It is an important weapon in our fight against climate change.

Our resource base is dwindling while greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. Getting more packages to be recycled is an issue that will require concerted effort among local governments, industry end markets, haulers, material recovery facilities, converters and of course, companies creating recyclable packaging like Tetra Pak.

This call for partnership was heard loud and clear at the Resource Recycling Conference’s first plenary session titled Curbside Enthusiasm. Together with my esteemed industry peers, Nina Goodrich, director of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and executive director of GreenBlue, Keefe Harrison, executive director of The Recycling Partnership, Julie Zaniewski, packaging and sustainability manager for Unilever, and Stephanie Baker, director of market development for KW Plastics Recycling Division, I advocated for strong partnerships among public agencies and private companies across the resource diversion industry to collectively bear the financial burden of sustaining recycling programs. Until we became united in paving the way for increased access, materials recovery facilities had been assuming much of the risk. Thankfully for all, this is now changing.

Tactics these partners in recycling are currently employing include providing bins for multiple families to use if they don’t have curbside pickup, and printing clear instructions on labels to make recycling less confusing. The Recycling Partnership is working with budget-strapped local governments to institute recycling programs that are easy to use and engage the full recycling supply chain. We have a long way to go in making curbside recycling as easy as disposing, but we’re off to a great start.

See how our session unfolded below and follow us on Twitter for more on how we’re working to influence better recycling policies.

Related: Renewable Living: Getting Consumers Excited About Renewable Resources
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