AMERICA’S PLASTIC RETAIL BAG MANUFACTURERS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE ON INDUSTRY-WIDE SUSTAINABILITY GOALS
Nationwide, American-made plastic retail bags now contain higher levels of recycled material as the industry increases focus on consumer education to improve recycling
The American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance (ARPBA) today announced that U.S. plastic retail bag manufacturers surpassed their 2021 goal of achieving an average of at least 10% recycled content in every plastic retail bag they manufacture. This outstanding achievement, in the face of unprecedented pandemic-related challenges, exemplifies how important sustainability is to the industry. Further, ARPBA members have indicated that they are again ahead of schedule to meet or exceed the 2023 and 2025 sustainability goals, which include recycled content thresholds of 15 percent and 20 percent, respectively.
To ensure the industry can continue to meet these commitments, ARPBA and its members are investing in consumer education to improve recycling rates through a partnership with STINA, a research and technology firm that helps organizations and individuals prioritize sustainable use of resources and materials. ARPBA will provide financial support for STINA’s Film Drop-off Directory, a resource that helps consumers find participating retailers in the store recycling takeback program. The Directory, accessible at www.bagandfilmrecycling.org, allows consumers to easily recycle plastic retail bags and other films at their local retailers.
“As a result of the ARPBA’s industry-wide Sustainability Commitment, the plastic retail bags that consumers across the country rely on every day have more recycled content in them,” said ARPBA Chairman Matthew Winokur. “We’re proud to support STINA’s innovative platform, which will make it easier for consumers to find where to recycle plastic retail bags and other plastic film through the store takeback program. Ultimately, consumers want to see more recycled content in products and it’s up to the industry to meet those expectations.”
Beyond mandating increasing levels of recycled content in plastic retail bags, ARPBA’s Sustainability Commitment also requires the industry to raise the combined recycling and reuse rate for plastic retail bags to 95%, a figure that the industry is also on track to achieve. Data and research from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Recyc-Quebec indicate that nearly nine in ten bags, or 90%, are either reused or recycled. ARPBA members are continually striving to educate the public on the sustainability of their products and raise consumer awareness about the importance of recycling and reuse.
“America’s plastic retail bag manufacturers are plastic bag recyclers. Their hard work to exceed these goals demonstrates that for ARPBA members, sustainability is more than just talk—it’s a core principle of the industry,” said ARPBA Director Zachary Taylor. “Supporting initiatives like the revitalized Film Drop-off Directory are critical to meeting our sustainability goals and should help better locate film recycling locations, ensuring they can recycle our members’ products and other plastic films easily and often.”
About American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance
The American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance (ARPBA) represents the U.S. plastic bag manufacturing and recycling industry, which employs thousands of workers across the United States. Founded in 2005, ARPBA proactively promotes product lines and leads numerous public policy initiatives that serve as the frontline defense against plastic bag bans and taxes nationwide. With the support of the industry’s workers, ARPBA promotes American-made plastic products that are the smartest, most environmentally friendly choice at the checkout counter for both retailers and consumers.