American Recycler News, Inc.


Annual PET recycling rate held steady for 2011

The National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) and The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) released the “2011 Report on Postconsumer PET Container Recycling Activity.” The report cites a 2011 U.S. recycling rate of 29.3 percent for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic containers. The total volume of postconsumer PET bottles collected was the highest measured to date at 1,604 million lbs.

Reclaimers was also at an all-time high of 667 million lbs.

“We are pleased to see that PET collection increased in 2011, despite some challenges,” said Tom Busard, NAPCOR chairman and vice president of global procurement and material systems for Plastipak Packaging, Inc. “United States reclaimers purchased a record 916 million lbs. of postconsumer bottles in 2011, and 1.04 billion lbs. of recycled PET went back into new product applications. These increases happened despite the effects of PET bottle lightweighting, which really played out this year to a greater extent than we’ve seen to date. The incidence of lighter bottles in the stream reflects manufacturers’ commitment to improving PET’s environmental footprint, but means additional handling for PET recyclers in the short term in order to produce the same weights.”

The end-use product categories comprised in 2011’s record use of 1.04 billion lbs. of recycled PET are detailed in the report and reflect increases over 2010 in the Sheet & Film, Food & Beverage Bottles, Strapping and Fiber end-use categories. After two years of project work by NAPCOR, the APR, and other supporters acknowledged in the report, a recycling total for PET thermoformed packaging – 45 million lbs. – is provided for the first time in the addendum.