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Plastics Industry Testifies in Support of New York City Recycling Program Expansion

Jennifer Killinger (703) 741-5833
April 27, 2010

ARLINGTON, VA (April 27, 2010) –  Citing the environmental benefits of recycling plastics, the American Chemistry Council’s Managing Director of Plastics Markets Keith Christman testified Monday to the New York City Council in support of New York City expanding its recycling program to include rigid plastic containers.

“ACC strongly supports the City’s effort to expand plastics recycling to include rigid plastic containers in addition to plastic bottles,” Christman said.  “This would build upon NYC’s successful retailer plastic bag take-back program in 2008 and would help to further reduce the amount of material that goes to landfills.”

New York City is considering legislation that would grow its municipal recycling program to include collection of rigid plastic containers such as yogurt cups, butter tubs and deli containers to name a few.  A new report expected to be released tomorrow confirms that recycling plastics saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

If this legislation passes, New York City would add important momentum to strong recent growth in recycling rigid plastic containers and indirectly help to increase the recycling of other plastics. Christman noted, cities and towns around the country often look to New York as a model for strong municipal management.

From 2007 to 2008 the recycling of (non-bottle) rigid plastic containers increased 11 percent, reaching 361 million pounds nationwide.  Today, 63 percent of California’s communities recycle rigid plastic containers curbside, and approximately one-third of the largest communities in the United States recycle rigid plastic containers, including Los Angeles, Seattle, Dallas and Boston.

“Through this effort New York City has an opportunity to expand on its recycling leadership demonstrated through the 2008 plastic bag recycling law,” Christman said.  “Following New York City’s enactment of the (plastic) bag recycling law, other cities and states have adopted bag recycling.  NYC’s effort contributed to the nationwide collection of over 832 million pounds of bags and film that were recycled in 2008, an increase of more than 28 percent since 2005[1].”

Additionally, Christman said a recycling expansion would help create green jobs.  Recycling has consistently been shown to create more jobs—at higher income levels—than disposal.  According to one study, 93 jobs are created for every 20 million pounds of plastic recycled[2].  If New York expands its program, plastic collection should increase by 40 to 90 million pounds. That could mean more than 400 new jobs.

The full testimony to the New York City Council in support of the recycling program expansion to include rigids can be found here.

You can follow our plastics recycling twitter handle @Recycle_Plastic at http://twitter.com/recycle_plastic.

[1] “2008 National Postconsumer Recycled Plastic Bag and Film Report,” March 2010, conducted by Moore Recycling Associates, sponsored by the American Chemistry Council.

[2] “Recycling and Economic Development A Review of Existing Literature on Job Creation, Capital Investment, and Tax Revenues," April 2009 Cascadia Consulting Group literature review sponsored by King County Solid Waste Division’s LinkUp program.

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