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US plastic bottle recycling increases in 2012: Report

Plastic bottle recycling in the US has increased by 6.2% to reach around 2.8 billion pounds in 2012, according to a new report released by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) and American Chemistry Council (ACC).

Plastic bottles

The report noted that plastic bottle recycling by consumers increased to 161 million pounds and recycling rate for all plastic bottles increased by 1.6% to 30.5% in 2012.

APR executive director Steve Alexander said the organizations are very encouraged by the steady growth in plastic bottle recycling.

"Used plastics are valuable materials, and recyclers rely on all of us to make sure these resources make it into a recycling bin," Alexander added.

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) bottles collection has increased by 45.3 million pounds in 2012, to reach one billion pounds and has boosted the recycling rate for the bottles from 29.9% to 31.6%.

Exports of HDPE bottles increased by 30 million pounds to reach to 201 million pounds in 2012, while postconsumer HDPE imports declined by 35% to 33.1 million pounds.

The survey of plastic bottle recycling in 2013 revealed that polypropylene bottles ((PP, #5) collection has increased by 7.2%, to reach 47 million pounds.

Domestic processing of postconsumer PP bottles rose by 14% to reach 43.5 million pounds, the report concluded.

ACC plastics vice president Steve Russell said, "In the United States, we have the capacity to recycle more used plastics than we are currently collecting, and innovative manufacturers are using these materials in new and exciting ways."


Image: Plastic bottle recycling by consumers increased to 161 million pounds in 2012. Photo: courtesy of dierk schaefer