- A new report from the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) and the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) shows that the U.S. recycling rate for PET bottles saw a slight decrease from 31% to 30.1% in 2015, as reported by Recycling Today.
- This dip was partially because the amount of bottles produced rose by 2% to 5.97 million pounds, driven by bottled water sales, but the weight of packaging decreased. About 1.8 million pounds of bottles were collected overall.
- Total domestic use of recycled PET dropped from 1.56 million pounds in 2014 to 1.42 million pounds in 2015, driven largely by lower demand for fiber. Exports to markets outside of North America, particularly Asia, also dropped.
As noted in the report, the average price of baled PET saw a serious decline in 2015 and reached some of the lowest rates since early 2009. Due to this and other factors, industry representatives said the report's main takeaway is stability not decline.
A recent study by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) found that 92% of U.S. residents have access to some form of PET bottle recycling. In addition to educational efforts aimed at raising participation, recyclers have also been looking at ways to get better quality material. The APR released design guidelines earlier this year and the SPC has teamed up with The Recycling Partnership.