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PET recycling rate at highest level since 1997

PETRecycling.jpgPET container recycling has increased for the fifth year in a row, to 27% — the highest level since 1997. That’s is according to a just-released study, the “2008 Report on Postconsumer PET Container Recycling Activity,” from the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR), and the PET Resin Association (PETRA).

According to the report, the 2008 PET recycling rate is the highest in more than 10 years and represents an increase of 9.8% over the 2007 rate of 24.6%. Over 1.45 billion pounds of PET bottles were collected in the U.S. in 2008, the highest PET container collection volume recorded to date.

Says the report: “2008 was a year like no other in many ways for the PET packaging and recycling industry. The growth in the PET bottle markets that the industry had taken for granted for almost thirty years flattened and then reversed itself, while PET thermoformed packaging saw continued strong growth in excess of 10%.”

Says Bill O’Grady, APR chairman and vice president of Talco Plastics, “This healthy rate increase is a real reminder of the ongoing viability of recycling and the country’s commitment to it. We at APR certainly support increased recycling and end-use markets for recycled resins, and we see the increasing PET recycling rate as an encouraging trend.”

The report also details the end uses for a record 915 million pounds of recycled PET utilized in U.S. manufacturing applications, including fiber for carpet and apparel; strapping, sheet, and film products; and food, beverage, and nonfood bottles and containers.

“It is very satisfying to see this significant jump in the PET recycling rate,” says Tom Busard, NAPCOR chairman and vice president, Global Procurement and Material Systems, Plastipak Packaging, Inc. “Using recycled PET in the manufacture of goods and packaging is energy and resource-efficient and a good example of sustainable practice. We are committed to working with our industry partners to meet the increased demand from the manufacturing applications that use – or would like to use – recycled PET.”

This is the fourth year that NAPCOR, the APR, and PETRA have partnered to produce this report and the fourteenth year that NAPCOR has issued the report in its current format.

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