Recycling Associations Release Joint Plastic Specs for First Time

The publication of joint plastic model bale specifications provides clarity and uniformity within the industry

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) and the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR), which together represent nearly all U.S. postconsumer plastic recycling companies, announced the publication of joint plastic model bale specifications to provide clarity and uniformity within the industry. These model bale specs are the results of a Plastic Scrap Spec Taskforce which the two organizations formed with the goals of finding common ground on the specifications and thereby improving the efficiency of trade.

“With the creation of uniform specifications, now everyone in the plastics recycling industry can speak the same language,” said Robin Wiener, president of ISRI. “Recognizing a need within the industry, the joint taskforce first sought to develop collective specs for more popular grades, and now will work in cooperation to issue specs for additional grades. This first of its kind collaboration better sets the parameters for agreements between buyers and sellers.”

The new model specifications include Bulky Rigids, Tubs and Lids with Bulky, and Tubs and Lids without Bulky. Each association will still publish the model specs individually, but those will be based on the same description language to avoid competing standards that may otherwise force the industry to choose between the two or disregard them all together. ISRI released its specs as part of its updated Scrap Specification Circular (p. 39-42).

“The goal of APR is to secure more good material that is available for reclamation,” said Tom Busard, Chairman of APR, and Vice President of Plastipak Corporation. “We have had industry bale specifications for many years. By working with the scrap industry, we hope to identify and capture more plastic packaging that may not have been separated and made available for recycling. We are always looking for sources of good, clean material, and hope these joint efforts will help us achieve that goal.”

The Taskforce is seeking input from other stakeholders with interest in uniform scrap specs for additional grades. Please visit to download a copy of the model bale specifications.

Sardinia 2021