Water Bottle Recycling Rate Nears 39 Percent

Association says the weight of containers has declined by close to 50 percent over the past 11 years.

February 22, 2013
Recycling Today Staff
Legislation & Regulations Plastics

The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), Alexandria, Va., has reported that the newest information from the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), Sonoma, Calif., and the Beverage Marketing Corp. (BMC), New York, indicates that close to 39 percent of all plastic water bottles are now being recovered for recycling.

BWA says the amount of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic used to make bottled water containers continues to decline. The association says the most recent figures from the BMC show that the average weight of a half-liter single-serve PET plastic water bottle dropping by almost 47.8 percent in the past 11 years.
According to a January 2013 internal NAPCOR study, the national recycling rate for PET plastic bottled water containers increased to 38.6 percent in 2011, representing an increase of close to 20 percent over 2010’s recycling rate. NAPCOR reports that during the year about 500 million pounds of plastic water bottles were reclaimed for recycling.
“The bottled water industry utilizes a variety of measures to reduce our environmental footprint,” says Chris Hogan, IBWA vice president of communications.  “All bottled water containers are 100 percent recyclable. And, when you do the math, it turns out that of all the plastics produced in the United States, PET plastic bottled water packaging makes up only 0.92 percent—less than 1 percent. Moreover, plastic bottled water containers make up only one-third of 1 percent of the U.S. waste stream, according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).”