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ISRI concern over recyclable bag bans

United States – The US Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) has voiced its opposition to ‘bans and fees on paper and plastic bags that are being manufactured into useful commodity-grade materials and sold into viable, commercial markets without subsidies or non-competitive, fixed pricing’.

The organisation is ‘quite concerned’ about ban and fee decisions that policy-makers are taking without considering the impact on recycling, states ISRI president Robin Wiener.

Many cities and counties in the USA have enacted plastic bag bans, taxes and fees in order to reduce the numbers entering, for example, landfills, storm drains and even recycling centres where they can clog sorting machinery.

‘No matter how good the intentions, these policy discussions should not be made in a vacuum,’ Wiener says. ‘Rather than bans and fees that take away jobs and increase costs to consumers, policy-makers should take advantage of the great economic and environmental opportunities associated with responsibly recycling these bags.’

In the USA, some 77% of paper mills rely on recovered fibre to make some or all of their products, according to ISRI. And the US Environmental Protection Agency cites estimated energy savings of 50-75 million BTUs per ton of plastic recycled.

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