Plastic Bottle Recycling Increases


According to the 18th annual Post-Consumer Plastics Bottle Recycling Report by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR), plastic bottle recycling by consumers increased 115 million pounds in 2007. This 5.2 percent increase enabled the U.S. to reach a record high of more than 2.3 billion pounds recycled for the year.

“We are pleased to see plastics recycling continue to climb,” said Steve Russell, managing director for ACC’s Plastics Division. “Plastics recycling continues to grow because people recognize that plastics are a valuable resource – too valuable to waste.”

Since the survey began in 1990, recycling has increased each year. According to the report, the recycling rate for plastic bottles rose slightly, but generally has remained constant, hovering at around 24 percent for the last several years.

The report also found that:

  • In 2007, About 1/3 of the increased bottle use of plastic was from the growth in the use of post consumer recycled plastic for bottles, according to the ACC's report. Photo:

    In 2007, about one-third of the increased bottle use of plastic was from the growth in the use of post-consumer recycled plastic for bottles, according to the ACC. Photo:

    PET bottles collected increased by 124 million pounds.

  • HDPE bottles collected decreased by 7.5 million pounds to 920.6 million pounds. The report notes that this decrease is due to decreases in bottle weight due industry’s shift towards light weighting and the shift to using concentrated laundry products.
  • Polypropylene bottle recycling totaled 17.6 million pounds.
  • PET and HDPE bottles continue to comprise over 96 percent of the plastic bottle market and over 99 percent of the bottles recycled.

“These numbers show us that consumers are increasingly interested in recycling plastic bottles,” said Steve Alexander, executive director of APR. “Valuable recycled plastic materials go on to become useful products, such as new bottles, carpeting, fleece jackets, and durable outdoor lumber,” Alexander said.

Additionally, over the last year, the ACC partnered with the California Department of Parks and Recreation and the non-profit Keep California Beautiful to place over 500 recycling bins on 19 locations along the California coast.

Data on PET recycling referenced in the report was separately funded and published by APR and the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR).

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