Published On: Mon, Mar 7th, 2011

ACC Reports Sharp Increase in Plastic Bag Recycling Levels

The recycling rate for post-consumer plastic bags and wraps has increased by 30 percent from 2005 to 2009, according to a report by Moore Recycling Associates, Sonoma, Calif., on behalf of the Washington, D.C.-based American Chemistry Council (ACC).

The report notes that total plastic film, the category under which plastic bags and wraps fall, reached 851 million pounds in 2009, an increase of 22 million pounds from the prior year and a 31 percent increase from 2005, when Moore Recycling Associates first began tracking recycling levels.

In an announcement following the report’s release, Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the ACC, says, “We are excited and gratified to see the recycling of plastic bags and wraps continue to grow. There are now nearly 12,000 locations across the country where consumers can bring back their plastic bags and product wraps to be recycled, many of them at major grocery stores and retail chains like Walmart, Target and Lowe’s. Thanks to the combined efforts of business and civic leaders, communities and NGOs, it’s never been easier or more convenient for consumers to recycle their plastic bags and wraps.”

He continues, “Collecting more plastic bags and wraps means more valuable recycled material is available for manufacturers—usually small businesses—that rely on it. One of the biggest opportunities to increase collection is to make more consumers aware that anywhere plastic carryout bags are collected, we also can recycle bags from newspapers, dry cleaning, bread and produce along with wraps from beverage cases, bulk snacks and paper products.”

The ACC is working with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition to launch new labeling campaign in 2011 for plastic film packaging, indicating that the items are suitable for “Store Drop-off.” The ACC says the initiative is designed to help consumers understand how to recycle various packaging components and to provide a harmonized approach to consumer communication on recyclability.


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