The National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) and The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) have released of the 2011 Report on Postconsumer PET Container Recycling Activity. A key figure from the report is the fact that the U.S. PET container recycling rate held firm at 29.3 percent.
According to the two associations, the total volume of postconsumer PET bottles collected in the United States was the highest measured to date at 1.604 billion pounds; the total amount of recycled PET produced by U.S. reclaimers reached a high of 667 million pounds.
“We are pleased to see that PET collection increased in 2011, despite some challenges,” says 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 pounds of postconsumer bottles in 2011, and 1.04 billion pounds 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 pounds of recycled PET are detailed in the report and reflect increases over 2010 in the sheet and film, food and beverage bottles, strapping and fiber end-use categories.
The report also includes, for the first time, the recycling total for PET thermoformed packaging, which stands at 45 million pounds in 2011.
“It’s gratifying to see PET thermoform recycling measured for the first time this year, and we feel the APR plays a key role here by providing Design for Recyclability guidelines that specifically address PET thermoform labels and adhesives,” says Bill O’Grady, APR’s chairman and vice president and GM of Talco Plastics. “We encourage all plastic packaging decision makers to review the different guidelines posted on the APR website www.plasticsrecycling.org as we’re certainly pleased to see increases in PET bottles collected and reclaimed, but we share the concern expressed in this year’s report about the impact of increasing contamination levels.”
This is the seventh year that NAPCOR and the APR have partnered to produce this report and the seventeenth year that it’s been issued by NAPCOR in its current format. The report can be obtained by visiting the website for either NAPCOR or APR.
To view the report, click here.