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‘Dramatic jump’ in US bottle recycling

United States – Recycling of single-serve PET water bottles has ‘jumped dramatically’ in the USA, rising almost 20% in 2011, according to new data released by the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) and the Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC).

While just over 32% of plastic water bottles were recycled in 2010, the figure grew to nearly 39% in 2011 – ‘and more than double the plastic water bottle recycling rate of seven years ago’, NAPCOR announced. This translates into 250 000 tonnes of recycled material out of the 650 000 tonnes available on the market. The recycling success can be partly attributed to the fact that PET bottles are the most recycled beverage container in kerbside recycling programmes, the organisation said.

Further raw material savings have come through bottle design. Over the last 11 years, the average weight of a half-litre PET container has fallen by almost 48% to 9.9 grams, the BMC pointed out, saving 1.65 million tonnes of PET resin since 2000.

‘All bottled water containers are 100% recyclable. And, when you do the math, it turns out that of all the plastics produced in the US, PET bottled water packaging makes up only 0.92%,’ remarked Chris Hogan, VP of Communications for the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA). ‘Moreover, plastic bottled water containers make up only one-third of 1% of the US waste stream, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.’

The significant increase in the recycling rate of PET bottled water containers, coupled with the continuing decrease in container weight, ‘underscores the consistent drive of the bottled water industry to improve recycling programmes and reduce its overall environmental footprint’, the IBWA asserted.

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