APRIL 2011

Recycling of non-bottle rigid plastics up nearly 50 percent

The American Chemistry Council released a new report which documents a dramatic increase in the collection and recycling of post-consumer non-bottle rigid plastics across the United States. The report, prepared by Moore Recycling Associates, Inc., found that in 2009, nearly 480 million pounds of post-consumer rigid plastics were collected for recycling nationwide, an increase of nearly 33 percent from 2008 and 47 percent since 2007.

The category “non-bottle rigid plastics” includes nondurable items (or packaging), such as high-density polyethylene (HDPE) tubs, polypropylene (PP) cups and similar food containers, and durable items, such as pallets, crates, carts, five gallon buckets and electronic housings.

According to the report a growing number of reclaimers have begun processing non-bottle HDPE and PP containers to produce resin for new end products. And the number of communities collecting mixed rigid plastics also has grown in response to demand.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • There has been an increase in the number of processors, end users and reclaimers of rigid plastics in 2009;
  • In just 1 year, there has been a 33 percent increase in collection of non-bottle rigid plastics; and
  • The number of communities offering rigid plastics recycling continues to increase.

Over 63 percent of households in California now have access to recycling of non-bottle rigid plastics, and recycling programs across the country are being expanded to collect rigid containers.

The report is based on data supplied by 60 post-consumer plastic processors, end-users and exporters across the United States.

The full report, “2009 National Post Consumer Report on Non-Bottle Rigid Plastics Recycling,” is available on www.americanchemistry.com/plastics.