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More American PET bottles loop back

The US witnessed a 7% increase in the amount of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) used in food and beverage bottles last year, reports the National Association for PET Container Resources (Napcor).

Despite this, the national recycling rate of PET plastic bottles was 27.9% in 2019, down on the 28.9% achieved the year before. For the first time, Napcor’s 2019 report also incorporates recycling statistics from Mexico and Canada. Higher rates in these countries boost the regional North American PET total to 35%.

‘The inclusion of a North American rate is appropriate and encouraging in light of a suggested test and recycling rate threshold published by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy,’ says Darrel Collier, Napcor executive director.

He notes as ‘significant’ that total rPET utilisation was up by 41% between 2017 and 2019 in the end markets for both food/beverage and non-food/beverage bottles. But the growth was offset by a decline in the PET thermoform and sheet market, which was down 16% over the same period.

However, a positive development is that PET thermoforms collected for recycling in 2019 set a new record at 65 000 tonnes.

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