Independent Commodity Intelligence Services (ICIS) developed the Recycling Supply Tracker, which allows companies looking to source recycled plastic to gain a comprehensive view of the sector and identify new supplier relationships, as well as take a strategic view on existing and announced projects. The global database provides information on production capacities, output volumes, feedstock source and site status, and is designed to bring transparency and support the transition to a circular economy.

ICIS says the tracker can assist the industry— as demand is currently outstripping supply, particularly for food grade packaging plastics— and FMCGs, manufacturers and converters are finding challenges when sourcing the feedstock required to hit regulatory and sustainability goals. According to the company, sourcing recycled resins has proven to be difficult across the packaging sector. Driven by regulation and consumer pressure, it could remain as one of the industry’s most pressing challenges. 

The Recycling Supply Tracker follows four grades of recycled plastic— high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polypropylene (PP) — in pellet, flake and regrind forms. The tracker has details on more than 1,800 medium and large recycling facilities around the world, with information on plant locations, what and how many products it produces and contacts.

Interactive filters allow the search to be narrowed by region, particular country or a specific product. It also shows if the plant is in operation, under construction or announced. Further filters on specifics such as product color and its feedstock source are also available, giving users a comprehensive view of recycled plastics market. 

“The tracker is designed to help companies source recycled resins globally, tackling one of the biggest challenges we know the industry is facing,” says Louise Boddy, head of strategy and sustainability at ICIS. “We bridge the gap between companies’ sustainability targets and actually finding supplies of recycled plastic on the ground in markets that remain fragmented and unfamiliar to many.  Our recycling analysts scour the world to find recycling plants that can support the circular economy and help those who want to increase their use of these environmentally friendly materials.”

Even in Europe, where regulators are pushing for circularity of plastics, it is becoming clear that not enough recycled material is available to hit these targets. And many consumer brands have even more aggressive targets than the regulation. According to ICIS, seeing the extent and location of the world’s recycling infrastructure with this tool enables regulators, investors and companies to see where the capacity is lacking and how fast it is being built. Having on the ground data is a step to stimulating this sector and bringing more waste plastic back into the economy.

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