Non-Bottle Rigid Plastics Recycling Up

The collection and recycling of post-consumer non-bottle rigid plastics across the United States is rising, reports the American Chemistry Council. A report by Moore Recycling Associates Inc. shows that in 2009, nearly 480 million pounds of post-consumer rigid plastics were collected for recycling nationwide, an increase of nearly 33% from 2008 and 47% since 2007.

"Non-bottle rigid plastics" includes nondurable items (or packaging), such as high-density polyethylene (HDPE) tubs, polypropylene (PP) cups and similar food containers, and durable items, such as pallets, crates, carts, 5-gallon buckets, and electronic housings.

Among the report’s key findings:

1. There has been an increase in the number of processors, end users and reclaimers of rigid plastics in 2009;
in just one year, there has been a 33% increase in collection of non-bottle rigid plastics; and the number of communities offering rigid plastics recycling continues to increase.

2. More than 63% of households in California now have access to recycling of non-bottle rigid plastics and recycling programs across the country are being expanded to collect rigid containers.

"Recycling these valuable plastics not only keeps them out of landfills but also helps close the loop, as these post-consumer materials go on to have a second life as useful products," said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council, in a press release.

"Communities, consumers, and business owners increasingly recognize the benefits of recycling non-bottle rigid plastics.  ACC continues to work with partners to promote recycling, provide technical support, increase access to collection programs, and promote greater consumer awareness," Russell said.  "This is the third year in a row that we’ve seen growth in this sector, and these results confirm for us the value of collaborative approaches to increase recycling in communities across America.”

The report is based on data supplied by 60 post-consumer plastic processors, end-users, and exporters across the United States. The full report, "2009 National Post Consumer Report on Non-Bottle Rigid Plastics Recycling <> ," is available on <>.

The recycling of plastic bottles is tracked separately.  In 2009, plastic bottle recycling in the United States grew to nearly 2.5 billion pounds, marking two decades of year-over-year increases in this category.  The full report, “National Post-Consumer Plastics Bottle Recycling Report <> ,” is available on <> .”

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