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Foam Packaging Recycling Rate Leveling Off Near 20%

foam-recycling2The percentage of post-consumer and post-commercial recycling of foam packaging, while growing steadily from 1998-2006, has since leveled off at just less than 20 percent.

About 19.5 percent of foam packaging was recycled in 2008, up slightly from 19.3 percent in 2006, according to the 2008 EPS Recycling Rate Report from the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers.

In total pounds recycled, 2008 was the highest-ever, at 33.6 million pounds, up from 32 million pounds in 2006. However, the total amount of foam packaging sold also is rising, to 172 million pounds in 2008, up from 166 million pounds in 2006.

Post-consumer EPS packaging recycling efforts have been aided by the Plastic Loose Fill Council’s “Peanut Hotline.”

The hotline for foam packaging peanuts directs consumers to local packaging businesses that will acept used EPS loose fill.

When the 35.8 million pounds of post-industrial foam recycling is accounted for, about 69.4 million pounds of foam were recycled in the U.S. in 2008.

Despite the slow economy, some companies and industries are still seeing increasing recycling rates.

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