Published On: Tue, Oct 18th, 2011

US plastic bottle recycling rate up 5% in 2010 at 1.18m t / Higher recovery rates for PET, HDPE and PP resins

Plastic bottle recycling by consumers in the USA increased by 5% to reach record levels of nearly 1.18m t last year, according to the

Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR, Washington, DC / USA; and the American Chemistry Council (ACC, Washington DC; Increases were recorded for PET, HDPE and PP bottle resins.

The total plastic bottle recycling rate reached 28.8% in 2010, from 27.8% in 2009, the associations said in a joint report. PET and HDPE bottles continue to comprise more than 96% of the US plastic bottle market and about 99% of the bottles recycled. PP bottles represent the third largest segment of the plastic bottle market, with 2.2%, followed by PVC with 0.8%.

Over the last 20 years, the compounded annual growth rate for plastic bottle recycling is calculated at 9.2%. Collected PET bottles increased by 51,200 t to 706,680 t last year, the APR said in a separate report compiled in association with the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR, Sonoma, California / USA; and the PET Resin Association (PETRA, New York City / USA; The recycling rate for PET bottles in the US rose to 29% in 2010 from 28% in 2009.

“Recycling plastic such as PET and re-processing it for next-life use is not only critical to the viability of our industry, but it’s simply good practice, both environmentally and economically,” said Scott Saunders, APR chairman and general manager of KW Plastics Recycling ( “Recycling and remanufacturing of recycled material captures and re-purposes the value inherent in the material, provides local jobs, and local tax revenues.”

HDPE bottles collected rose by 1,133 t to 445,797 t, according to the APR/ACC report. The HDPE bottle recycling rate rose to 29.9% in 2010 from 29.2% in 2009. Exports of HDPE bottle material collected in the USA fell to 89,000 t, representing 20% of domestically collected material. Approximately 78% of the exports left North America, the APR/ACC report said. Imports of post-consumer HDPE decreased by 38% to 11,234 t. PP bottle recycling rose 31% to 16,036 t, with 67% of the total processed domestically as deliberate PP material, as opposed to mixed material flake combined with HDPE.


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