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January 2007

PET recycling rate up but wasting increases also

The National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) and the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) announced a Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) recycling rate of 23.1% and a collected volume of 1.170 billion pounds for PET post consumer containers in the United States for the year ended December 31, 2005.

At 23.1%, the 2005 recycling rate is an improvement over 2004’s rate of 21.6% and reflects the highest PET container collection volume to date, a 16.7% increase over 2004.

The volume of PET containers available for recycling in the United States also grew in 2005 to 5,075 million pounds, a 9.4% increase over 2004. This growth was driven primarily by strong sales of still water and isotonic beverages.

Over 860 million pounds of recycled PET was used in 2005 in United States manufacturing applications including fiber for carpet and apparel, strapping, sheet, film, food and non-food containers.

According to the Container Recycling Institute (CRI), a non-profit environmental group, while PET bottle recycling rose by 167 million pounds last year, wasting increased by 136 thousand tons during the same period. CRI research director Jenny Gitlitz said, “We’re now trashing almost two million tones of PET annually, up from 588 thousand tons wasted a decade ago.” CRI executive director attributed the slow rate of recycling increase to the inability of current recycling programs to keep up with the rapid pace of increased beverage sales. “Bottled water sales have skyrocketed for over five years, from 3.3 billion in 1997 to an estimated 26 billion in 2005, and shows no signs of slowing,” she said.


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