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Plastic Bottle Recycling Hits Record High as Access Increases in United States


Contact:  Jennifer Killinger (202) 249-6619  
Email: jennifer_killinger@americanchemistry.com

Contact: Steve Alexander (202) 316-3046
E-mail: salexander@cmrgroup4.com

Recycling Rate for Plastic Bottles Reaches Nearly 2.6 Billion Pounds in 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 13, 2011) – Plastic bottle recycling by consumers increased 123 million pounds in 2010 (up five percent) to reach a record high of nearly 2.6 billion pounds for the year, according to figures released jointly today by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR).

The 21st annual National Post-Consumer Plastics Bottle Recycling Report also marks the twenty-first consecutive year that Americans have increased the pounds of plastic bottles that have been returned for recycling. The pounds of bottles collected for recycling has grown each year since the industry survey began in 1990. The recycling rate for plastic bottles rose one percent to reach nearly 29 percent in 2010.

“Recycling our used plastics is one of the easiest ways all of us can help support our economy and the environment,” said Steve Alexander, executive director of APR.  “Companies across the United States, many of them small businesses, rely on a steady stream of recycled plastics to make useful, innovative products, such as performance fleece, low-maintenance backyard decks, kitchen gadgets, new bottles, and even auto parts.”

APR, which represents more than 90 percent of the postconsumer plastics recycling capacity in North America, recently introduced a series of bale specifications to help buyers and sellers of post-consumer plastics to come to a common understanding of available materials.

A separate study (“Plastics Recycling Collection: National Reach Study”) published earlier this year and sponsored by ACC found that 94 percent of Americans now have access to recycle plastic bottles—making consumer access to plastics recycling more widespread than previously believed.

“We consistently find that when access meets awareness, people are will recycle their plastics,” said Steve Russell, Vice President of ACC’s Plastics Division.

“Given the almost universal access to plastic bottle recycling coupled with the rapid growth in plastic container recycling programs, we are very optimistic about the future of plastics recycling in the United Sates,” Russell said. “The key will be to continue to drive awareness in areas with new access.”
 
The full 2010 report (National Post-Consumer Plastics Bottle Recycling Report) is available in the “Reports and Publications” section of ACC’s website and on APR’s (www.plasticsrecycling.org) website.

Data on PET recycling referenced in the report was separately funded and published by APR and the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR).  A separate report, entitled 2010 Report on Post-Consumer PET Container Recycling Activity, is available on APR’s website.

More information on recycling plastic bottles, including tips for consumers, is available on www.plasticsmakeitpossible.com.

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