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A new high for US plastics recyclers

United States – The recycling of post-consumer rigid plastics in the USA surged 27% in 2014, according to the American Chemistry Council (ACC). This represents an increase of 276 million pounds (125 000 tonnes), which is a ‘€˜new high’€™ from the 1.28 billion pounds (580 000 tonnes) recycled in the previous year.

Approximately 64% of the 1.28 billion pounds of rigid plastics collected for recycling was processed in the USA or Canada – down slightly from 2013 – while exports went mostly to China, the ACC reports. Polypropylene and high-density polyethylene accounted for, respectively, 38.3% and 34.1% of all material collected. The increase is attributed mainly to: a ‘rebound’ from the 2013 Green Fence initiative in China; improved bale quality; and growing standardisation of plastics bales.

The reported volume of recycled rigid plastics – tracked separately from bottles or film – is now said to be four times greater than the volume reported in 2007, the ACC points out. ‘This is really exciting news,’ comments ACC vice president Steve Russell. ‘The combination of more advanced sorting technologies coupled with expanded consumer access is making a positive difference, and we look forward to seeing growth in rigid plastics recycling continue.’

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