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Oregon sees drop in plastic container recycling levels.

The state of Oregon has reported that the recycling rate for rigid plastic containers in the state declined in 2005 to 24.3 percent. Further, according to a report by the state's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the recycling rate is expected to remain below 25 percent in 2007.

This is the first time the state has reported a rigid plastic container recycling rate of less than 25 percent since it began calculating the figure in 1993.

Because of the decline, recycling related requirements on some companies' bottle and container packaging could come into play unless the state is able to increase the plastic recycling rate to more than 25 percent by next year.

According to a state law, any rigid plastic container sold in Oregon must contain at least 25 percent recycled content; be made of plastic that is recycled in Oregon at a rate of at least 25 percent; or be reusable (refillable for at least five times).

According to Peter Spendelow, DEQ solid waste specialist, the decline can be attributed to two main factors. First, he says, is the increasing sale of water and juice in plastic bottles, which have a lower recycling rate. Soft drink sales are declining, though they have a historically higher recycling rate. Second, Spendelow says, increasing amounts of plastic are being used to make tubs, trays and other types of non-bottle containers. Most curbside recycling collection programs collect only plastic bottles, so the tubs, trays and clamshells often are not recycled.

To increase the plastics recycling levels, Spendelow says many local governments and recycling collectors are considering adding tubs and other plastic containers to their curbside programs as well as providing customers with large roll-carts for storing and recycling all of their materials.

Legislative proposals to add water and other beverages to Oregon's Bottle Bill could push the plastic recycling rate close to 30 percent, the DEQ projects.
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Publication:Recycling Today
Date:Feb 1, 2007
Previous Article:Connecticut seeks to boost recycling levels.
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