MBA Polymers the world's largest recycler of mixed, discarded plastic from durable goods has been making strides in the global market but its challenges here in the U.S. illustrate our nation's recycling deficiencies. MBA has gotten global attention for its ability to produce plastic pellets from used appliances that are cheaper than virgin pellets. Its plants in Europe and Asia process 40,000 tons of shredded plastic annually. Here in the U.S., however, MBA only operates a pilot program. The problem: a lack of starting materials.
Reed McManus from Sierra magazine writes of the difficulties in producing an economy of scale:
A breakthrough came from Europe and Japan, where nationwide take back laws require electronics and appliance manufactures to pay for their products recycling and disposal. That has created a reliable supply of raw material.
Biddle, an American, was first inspired to develop a more efficient sorting and recycling process for plastic scrap by Suffolk County's 1988 polystyrene ban. Every 1 pound of virgin plastic replaced keeps as much as 3 pounds of greenhouse gasses out of the atmosphere.
What CAW is Doing: