A couple of recent online reports highlight the "interesting" times that plastics recycling faces. (By "interesting", I'm referring to the infamous non-Chinese, Chinese curse of living in interesting times.)
First, the good news: The American Chemistry Council is reporting that the recycling rates for plastic films took a nice jump up last year of over 11%. The research organization that performed the study "attributes the gain to a combination of increased collection and more comprehensive reporting." This is pretty important news however, as plastic films are at the frontline in the battle against plastics, i.e., plastic bag bans. I see more and more opportunities of plastic collection sites, such as at the entrances of Target, Walmart and local grocery stores, so there are few excuses for everyone to not stuff the bags in there. (I happen to have a good excuse - I reuse the bags by picking up dog poop.)
But now comes the bad news. Low oil prices are putting a strain on recyclers. Since the price for virgin resins are falling, the price advantage of using recycled resin is disappearing.
Low oil prices will not last forever. The Saudi's have a lot of cash in the bank to live off of, but it won't last forever, so the strain on recyclers will also not last forever. But I am hopeful that the increase in plastic film will continue into next year and beyond.