Trade Resources Industry Views US Plastic Bottle Recycling Rate Drops by 2.4% in 2016

US Plastic Bottle Recycling Rate Drops by 2.4% in 2016

Plastic bottle recycling in the US had gone down by 2.4% to a little over £2.9bn in 2016, according to a new industry report.

The figures were revealed by Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) and the American Chemistry Council (ACC). However, plastic bottle recycling remained strong in the country as per APR.

The report, dubbed the 27th annual National Postconsumer Plastic Bottle Recycling Report, shows the overall recycling rate for plastic bottles in 2016 to be 29.7%. This marks a decrease from the 31.1% figure registered in 2015.

APR president Steve Alexander said: “Some U.S. recyclers are seeing these short-term challenges as opportunities to innovate and invest in our plastics recycling infrastructure.

“The key to continued growth lies in improving our sorting and collection technologies to deliver consistent, high quality yields that strengthen our global competitiveness.”

The report published the five-year compounded annual growth rate for plastic bottle recycling at 2.1%.

APR stated that the overall decline after 20 successive years of growth was due to a slight decrease in material collected for recycling, varying export markets, and growing contamination of recyclables.

Apart from that, increased usage of plastic bottles in packaging was balanced out by continuing advancement in lightweighting and more use of concentrates with smaller, lighter bottles.

The year 2016 saw a decrease in polyethylene terephthalate (PET, #1) recycling by £44m as per the report.

High density polyethylene (HDPE, #2) bottles like bottles for milk, household cleaners and detergents had their collection drop by 2.8% to £1.1bn in 2016.

The report says that the recycling rate for HDPE bottles had come down from 34.4% to 33.4%.

Exports of HDPE bottles surged by about 5% to £193m in 2016, as per the APR-ACC report.

ACC plastics vice president Steve Russell said: “Plastics recycling has a track record of long-term growth spanning 25 years.

“Post-use plastics are valuable materials that have weathered many cycles and different growth factors. From resin suppliers to recyclers to brand owners, the plastics value chain is working together to continue to create new opportunities and long-term solutions.”

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