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September 2004

APR Urges Congress to Stop Unauthorized Exports to China

Arlington, VA— According to the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR), the U.S. post-consumer plastics recycling industry is in increasing peril due to threats both at home and abroad. Since 1995, the U.S. post-consumer plastics recycling rate has been dropped from 40% to less than 20% today. In roughly the same time frame, exports of recycled post-consumer plastics to China have soared, increasing by 321% since 2000 alone. Congress must become involved to reverse both trends before no viable post-consumer plastic recycling industry remains in the United States.

The APR is a national trade association representing nearly the entire post-consumer plastic bottle processing capacity in North America. Its membership includes independent recycling companies of all sizes, several major resin suppliers, and affiliated companies. APR members are mainly small businesses which recycle collected PET, HDPE, and other plastics which include soda, water and beer bottles, milk bottles, and detergent bottles, among others, which allows them to be used in end products such as carpet fibers, strapping, pipe, and other packaging, including new plastic bottles. Due to the falling recycling rate and the marked increase of exports to China, APR members can currently obtain only half of the raw material needed to meet demand for recycled resins.

Historically, the APR has strongly supported any initiatives that will result in an increase in the recycling rate, including existing and innovative collection methodologies.

Currently, the APR is urging members of Congress to assist in any way possible to stop the increased flow of recovered plastic exports to China. The APR is also calling on Congress to lead the way towards developing a national collection mandate which will bring all interested parties (the government, recyclers, industry, and end users) together to design concrete ways to increase post-consumer plastics recycling.

APR’s goal is to achieve for all plastic bottles what was previously done for PET bottles, a 40% recycling rate, by 2007 along with an immediate end to the unauthorized exportation to China. The association says Congress must intervene on both fronts. Increased post-consumer plastics recycling is good for the environment, critical to the thousands of workers employed by APR members, and necessary to meet the demands of many other industries across the country.

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