After staying about the same for two years, the volume of PET bottles recycled in the U.S. increased to 1.5 billion pounds in 2010 – up 113 million pounds from the year before, according to a recent report.
Total PET collected for recycling in 2010 was at its highest to date, as was the use of recycled PET in end-use applications, according to an annual report issued on Wednesday by the National Association for PET Container Resources, The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers and the PET Resin Association.
Last year’s increase brought the total PET bottle recycling rate to nearly 30 percent for the first time since 1996. About 29 percent of all PET bottles created in the U.S. were recycled last year – up from 28 percent in 2009, according to the report.
The 2010 report also details end-use applications for a record-setting 1 billion pounds of PET – a 7 percent increase from the year before – thanks mostly to a market surge in recycled PET use for packaging applications. The demand for RPET in packaging increased by a whopping 23 percent when compared to 2009 volumes, the report said.
This is the seventh year in a row that PET bottle recycling has increased, according to the report. And industry leaders said higher recycling not only makes sense environmentally but could also help bolster the struggling U.S. economy.
“Recycling plastic such as PET and re-processing it for next-life use is not only critical to the viability of our industry, but it’s simply good practice, both environmentally and economically,” said Scott Saunders, chairman of the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) and general manager of KW Plastics Recycling. “Recycling and remanufacturing of recycled material captures and re-purposes the value inherent in the material, provides local jobs, and local tax revenues.”
The plastic recycling industry’s all-bottle recycling report – which includes numbers for HDPE bottles and containers – is expected to be released by the ARP at its fall meeting in Charlotte, N.C. this week, reports Waste & Recycling News.