The U.S. recycling rate for post-consumer polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is 28 percent in 2009, marking the sixth straight year that the nation’s recycling rate has increased, despite a four percent decrease in the availability of PET containers, by weight, according to a new report.
The report, “2009 Report on Post Consumer PET Container Recycling Activity” (PDF), also details the end uses for a record 937 million pounds of recycled PET used in manufacturing applications, reflecting significant increases over 2008 in sheet & film, food & beverage bottles, and non-food bottles end-use sectors.
The report, released by the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR), and the PET Resin Association (PETRA), also reveals that there is continued interest on the part of brand owners in converting food and non-food containers to PET from other materials based on PET’s recyclability, and the suitability of recycled PET (RPET) for use in new packaging.
The report finds that the use of RPET in food, beverage, and non-food PET containers increased 37 percent from 2008 to 2009. This strong interest in PET will likely contribute to future industry growth as pressure continues for environmentally sound packaging, the economy recovers, and consumer spending increases, according to the report.
The report also reveals that the total number of pounds of PET bottles and jars available in the U.S. for recycling in 2009 was 5.149 billion, reflecting the total amount of PET bottle resin used by U.S. bottle manufacturers from U.S., foreign, and recycled sources, less scrap generated and not reused, exported bottles and pre-forms, and bottles less than eight ounces in size.
The amount of post consumer PET bottles collected for recycling and sold in the U.S. was 1.444 billion pounds in 2009.
Earlier this year, NAPCOR and APR announced that a preponderance of bottles falsely labeled as PET or PET-compatible were causing problems for recycling companies due to significantly lower melt temperatures.