bottle recycling achieves two decades of year-over-year increases
Recycling rate for plastic bottles reaches high of nearly 2.5
Plastic bottle recycling by consumers increased
by 46 million pounds in 2009 (up 2 percent), to reach a record
high of nearly 2.5 billion pounds for the year, according to
figures released jointly by the American Chemistry Council (ACC)
and the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR).
The 20th annual National Post-Consumer Plastics Bottle Recycling
Report also marks the 20th consecutive year that Americans have
increased the pounds of plastic bottles that have been returned
for recycling. The pounds of bottles collected for recycling
has grown each year since the industry survey began in 1990.
The recycling rate for plastic bottles rose nearly 1 percent
to reach 28 percent in 2009.
“Two decades of increased collection year-over-year shows that
Americans are committed to recycling,” said Scott Saunders, vice
president and general manager of KW Plastics in Troy Alabama,
and chairman of APR. “Valuable recycled plastic materials go
on to become useful products, such as automotive parts, carpeting,
fleece jackets, durable outdoor lumber, new bottles and containers.
By recycling our used plastics, all of us can help support green
jobs and green businesses,” Saunders said.
America’s plastics and recycling industries continue to invest
in developing technologies and innovative programs to increase
awareness of recycling opportunities among consumers and expand
access to away-from-home recycling bins.
A recent step forward in the recycling of plastic bottles involves
replacing the caps. “Recyclers now want consumers to place caps
back on bottles prior to recycling, said Steve Alexander, executive
director of APR.
“By twisting caps back on our bottles before placing them in
the bin, we can help make sure this valuable material says out
of the litter stream and gets into the hands of recyclers,” Alexander
APR, which represents more than 90 percent of the postconsumer
plastics recycling capacity in North America, has initiated a
series of recycling workshops and webinars for recycling officials
to help increase the volume of plastics available for recycling.
In addition, APR works closely with packaging and consumer product
companies on design for recycling of new containers and works
with industry to minimize contamination of the recycling stream.
ACC, which represents the makers of plastic resins, has partnered
with the California Department of Parks and Recreation and the
non-profit Keep California Beautiful to place nearly 700 recycling
bins at 19 locations along the California coast. ACC recently
expanded its partnership efforts by teaming up with the California
Department of Transportation (CalTrans) to place recycling bins
at rest stops on route to popular tourist destinations. Data
show that each year, bins placed through the campaign help to
recycle roughly 45 tons of plastics (and more than 100 tons of
other materials) in public spaces along California’s coast.