Plastics Trade Group Launches ‘Recycling is Real’ Advocacy Campaign

Recycling is Real

Aggressive new push meant to counter the growing number of anti-recycling voices

The Plastics Industry Association today launched a new nationwide initiative promoting the value and viability of plastics recycling to policymakers and brand owners.

The Washington, D.C.-based trade organization, which refers to itself as PLASTICS, says the move is necessary to counter the rising tide of anti-recycling voices who declare that plastics recycling doesn’t work, has never worked, and should no longer be considered a viable waste management strategy.



In a Sept. 14 online conference call with journalists Matt Seaholm, CEO of PLASTICS, cited organizations such as Beyond Plastics and Greenpeace as being prominent voices who have moved from being anti-plastics to anti-plastics recycling. That, he asserts, “is just not helpful for any purposes.”

Seaholm said this advocacy campaign “is one of the largest initiatives that this organization has ever launched.” He said his group was sending 10,000 emails this morning to policymakers and nationwide. The effort will also include paid advertising targeting lawmakers.

New website to feature video storytelling

PLASTICS also today launched a new website, called Recycling is Real, to support this new initiative. On the site, the association notes that America recycles more than 6 billion pounds of plastics every year. It also includes an interactive map of the United States that links to stories about recycling growth in each state.

Further, it notes that since 2017, “the industry has invested or made commitments to invest over $8 billion in recycling capabilities and technology. Companies are committed to reprocessing plastic material and making it usable again.”

Seaholm quoted a recent keynote speaker from MassRecycle –– a group representing recyclers in Massachusetts –– as saying “What sort of blows my mind is that our recycling foes are now national, nonprofit environmental organizations.”

Reaching out to policymakers

There is now, Seaholm says, consistent messaging from such groups to policymakers and to the general public, as well, telling them not to invest in plastics recycling –– it’s not worth it, it can’t be done. “This is really impeding our progress toward solutions.” If policymakers believe that, he notes, then they are left with few options other than material bans, i.e., source reduction.

So PLASTICS is now deciding to fight back with this aggressive new advocacy campaign. “The best approach is not to simply stop producing it [plastics],” Seaholm said, “it is to make sure we can recycle more of it –– and we want to. But this erosion of faith has necessitated us saying, ‘Recycling is Real’, and doing it in a big way.”

The campaign will involve posting numerous videos that demonstrate that plastics recycling is both economical and feasible. It launched the new website today with four such videos, from within the plants of Placon in Madison, Wis.; Ultra-Poly Corp. in Portland, Pa.; MAAG Group in Eagle Rock, Va., and the Hilex Poly brand of Novolex in North Vernon, Ind. PLASTICS intends to continue adding new videos to build on the messaging that “recycling is real.”

By Robert Grace | September 14, 2023

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