Oregon, NAPCOR Completes Project to Boost iPET Recycling

The statewide Oregon PET Recycling Project culminated by awarding $2,000 in cash prizes to the winners of the project's "Cash for Trash" PET recycling contest. Over a period of nearly one year, and with the support and assistance of the Oregon Soft Drink Association, the American Plastics Council, the International Bottled Water Association and a host of state recycling professionals, NAPCOR managed the project that was designed to raise the recycling rate for PET plastic bottles in the state of Oregon.

The origins of the project began in the fall of 2000 when the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, NAPCOR and a representative group of leading local public and private recycling and solid waste officials met and agreed that the recent decline in Oregon's PET recycling rate could be attributed to the increased popularity of individual-sized PET (iPET) plastic beverage containers. Unlike like the larger, multi-serve PET bottles, the iPET containers are consumed "on the go," away from home recycling options, and are thus more likely to be thrown away instead of recycled.

NAPCOR was asked to develop a proposal for a statewide PET recycling effort that would include: PET recycling training and education for operations staff of special facilities and events (stadiums, arenas, zoos, community festivals, etc.) were PET bottles are sold, and a statewide PET recycling awareness program.

In response, NAPCOR proposed, and the advisory group approved, a campaign with the objective of "cooperatively increasing the rigid PET plastic container recycling rate in the state of Oregon." The Oregon PET Recycling Project was born and very quickly a host of private partners signed on to help.

During the course of the 2001 PET Recycling Project the following activities were accomplished:

  • A half-day, free workshop for facility and event managers on how to set up and operate a successful PET bottle recycling program was held.
  • 125 NAPCOR PETE's Pack recycling education kits were distributed to Oregon schools.
  • A media campaign ran for one month in the fall of 2001 in the Portland and Eugene media markets. Two hundred sixty-four radio spots and public service announcements aired.
  • A "Cash for Trash" PET plastic bottle recycling contest was coordinated in the Portland market that was the focus of the Portland radio spots.
  • Support was provided for a Lane County (Eugene market) "Great Recycling Sort Out" cash prize contest for recycling residents of the County.

In 2002, NAPCOR will launch another state project, with the assistance of the Oregon Recycling Advocates, to implement PET bottle recycling programs at facilities and special events. Copies of the full final report of the 2001 Oregon PET Recycling Project are available through the NAPCOR western office.

Reprinted with permission from NAPCOR's Electronic Newsletter-February 2002.