ISRI Concludes Development of Specifications for Recycled Plastics
ISRI Concludes Development of Specifications for Recycled Plastics

ISRI Concludes Development of Specifications for Recycled Plastics

  • 22-Dec-2023 2:34 PM
  • Journalist: Robert Hume

In a significant development, ISRI has concluded its latest update to the ISRI Specifications, incorporating revised specifications for recycled plastics. This marks the culmination of a comprehensive process within the ISRI specification framework, establishing the newly outlined specifications as the current industry standards. The refined plastic specifications are the outcome of a collaborative effort between members of the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) and ISRI. The nod of approval for these specifications was obtained separately in October 2023 from both the ISRI Board of Directors and the APR Board of Directors.

The impetus behind these specification updates is to provide a more accurate reflection of the landscape of recycled polypropylene (PP) and mixed rigid plastics that are currently in circulation within the market. Leveraging technological advancements such as optical sorters, robotics, and the integration of artificial intelligence, the recycling industry has witnessed unprecedented improvements in the sorting and processing of plastics for recycling. Nevertheless, the dynamic nature of packaging and recycling streams underscores the ongoing need for updated bale specifications and recycling-compatible package design to effectively uphold and enhance the quality of recycled materials.

The contemporary advancements in technology have significantly elevated the efficiency of sorting and processing plastics for recycling. Optical sorters, powered by advanced sensing technologies, enable precise identification and separation of various plastic materials, contributing to the overall enhancement of recycling capabilities. Robotics and artificial intelligence have further augmented these processes, allowing for increased automation, speed, and accuracy in sorting facilities.

However, amidst these technological strides, the complexity of packaging materials and the evolving nature of recycling streams pose ongoing challenges. To address these challenges, the updated ISRI Specifications for recycled plastics serve as a vital tool in providing clarity and standardization within the industry. The collaborative effort between APR and ISRI underscores the industry's commitment to staying abreast of technological advancements and adapting its standards to reflect the current realities of recycled plastic materials.

The meticulous approval process for these specifications involved the endorsement of both the ISRI and APR Boards of Directors in October 2023. This dual approval signifies a consensus within the industry, reflecting a unified acknowledgment of the need for updated standards that align with the contemporary landscape of recycled plastics.

The fundamental goal of these specification updates is to foster effective communication between Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) and reclaimers. By clearly delineating the materials that are commonly accepted within the recycling process, these specifications facilitate seamless interactions between entities involved in different stages of the recycling supply chain.

Furthermore, the collaboration between APR and ISRI in shaping these specifications underscores the interconnected nature of the recycling ecosystem. Industry associations and organizations working in tandem contribute to a more cohesive and standardized approach, fostering a shared understanding of best practices and promoting sustainability goals within the recycling sector.

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