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Plastic Bottle Recycling by Consumers Reaches Record High

December 27, 2010

Plastic bottle recycling by consumers reached a record high in 2009, increasing two percent to nearly 2.5 billion pounds for the year.

The 20th annual National Post-Consumer Plastics Bottle Recycling Report, released last month by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) and American Chemistry Council (ACC), also showed that the recycling rate for plastic bottles rose, too, inching up another one percent to reach 28 percent in 2009. Over the past 20 years, Americans have increased the pounds of plastic bottles returned for recycling each year –although that’s not at all surprising considering how plastic bottle consumption has increased annually, as well.

Fortunately, America’s plastics and recycling industries continue to invest in developing technologies and infrastructure to recycle plastics in communities across the nation.

“Two decades of increased collection year-over-year shows that Americans are committed to recycling,” said Scott Saunders, vice president and general manager of KW Plastics in Troy Alabama, and Chairman of APR. “Valuable recycled plastic materials go on to become useful products, such as automotive parts, carpeting, fleece jackets, durable outdoor lumber, new bottles and containers. By recycling our used plastics, all of us can help support green jobs and green businesses.”

Earlier this year, another study jointly commissioned by ACC, APR and other plastics groups, revealed that recycling plastics, specifically PET and HDPE which are commonly used in bottles, results in significant savings in energy and greenhouse gas emissions.

“Continued growth in plastics recycling demonstrates that bringing opportunities and awareness together is the key to success,” said Keith Christman, managing director of plastics markets for ACC. “Recycling more plastics is an important way we all can help the environment and fuel earth-friendly innovation every day.”

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