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January 22, 2014

MADISON - The Wisconsin Council on Recycling has approved a set of recommendations designed to stimulate job creation and economic growth through increased plastics recycling.

Prompted by a 2012 study commissioned by the Department of Natural Resources, which indicated some $64 million worth of used plastics are landfilled in Wisconsin each year, the council coordinated a stakeholder process with the DNR in 2013 to identify specific actions that would divert plastics away from landfilling and direct them toward use as raw materials in manufacturing.

Participants in the collaborative process included a cross section of business leaders and recycling professionals and resulted in recommendations adopted by the council at a special meeting in the fall.

The council approved recommendations in the form of a coordinated set of projects. Examples include increasing recovery of plastic bottles at highly visible public events and sports venues; increasing awareness and opportunities to recycle discarded commercial plastic packaging, highly valued by manufacturers and processors; and increasing opportunities for recycling of agricultural plastics, thereby reducing potential release of toxic air emissions caused by illicit burning of these materials.

Recycling Council Chairman Rick Meyers noted that the council's initiative has garnered attention from Wisconsin companies involved in the plastics industry, as well as national trade associations and other state and local government agencies.

"The approach has been to target actions that can be successfully implemented now, within existing budgets and policies, and that are supported by the private and public sectors," said Meyers.

Some of the projects expand on existing initiatives and are already off to a strong start. For example, the DNR recently entered into a pilot project with plastics industry leaders to increase the recovery of plastic film, including bags and product wrap, from consumers at store drop-offs and from businesses, distributors and warehouses where plastic wrapping is heavily used.

The pilot project targeted the greater Milwaukee area, but under the council's recommendations will now extend throughout the state, working through community recycling programs, retail and other commercial establishments and national trade associations.

Future phases of the campaign may seek additional private and public sector investment to improve plastics recycling infrastructure.

Search the DNR website for "council on recycling" to find out more information.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Meyers, Wisconsin Council on Recycling, 414-286-2334

Last Revised: Wednesday, January 22, 2014

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