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PET recycling rate posts modest rise.

The National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), based in Sonoma, Calif., has announced that the U.S. recycling rate for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers in 2004 was 21.6 percent, representing 1.03 billion pounds (515,000 tons) of post-consumer PET containers.

According to NAPCOR, this is the highest recycling rate for post-consumer PET containers since 2001. The recycling rate for post-consumer PET peaked in 1995, however, at 33.1 percent, according to Jenny Gitlitz at the Container Recycling Institute, based in Washington.

Information contained in the "2004 Report on Post Consumer PET Container Recycling Activity" was obtained from NAPCOR's internal data and through surveys conducted by R.W. Beck, the Association of Postconsumer Plastics Recyclers, Moore Recycling Associates and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

According to the report, the use of PET bottles and jars increased 8 percent from 2003's figures, with 4.64 billion pounds of the containers available for recovery in the United States. "This number reflects the total amount of PET bottle resin used by U.S. bottle manufacturers from U.S., foreign and recycled sources, less scrap generated and not reused, exported bottles and preforms and bottles less than eight ounces in size," the report says of the 4.64 billion pound figure.

Roughly 1 billion pounds of post-consumer PET containers were collected for recycling in the United States, with U.S. reclaimers buying 628 million pounds, export markets purchasing 372 million pounds and 3 million pounds going to composite applications, according to the report.

Overall collection volumes increased 19 percent from 2003's figures, with about 88 percent of post-consumer PET being sold in bales and the remainder as dirty flake.

In 2004, U.S. reclaimers were able to purchase 110 million pounds more material than in 2003, while Canadian reclaimers bought an additional 16.9 million pounds of material. Chinese exports also increased, however, by nearly 35 million pounds, according to the report.

According to the report, prices for post-consumer bottle bales were stable throughout the year, with domestic reclaimers paying 13 cents to 18 cents per pound. This pricing stability is credited to the Chinese government's aggressive enforcement of the prohibition on the import of baled post-consumer plastics, which began in March of 2004, though the law has been on the books since 1996. In light of the enforcement crackdown, Chinese buyers had to have the bottles granulated prior to delivery at Chinese reclamation plants.

"We are pleased with the increased recycling rate of PET containers in 2004 which reversed the decline of the last three years," says Gerry Claes, director of environmental programs for Graham Packaging, headquartered in York, Pa., and chairman of NAPCOR. "The record level of collected post-consumer PET containers is a sign of the success of curbside and other collection programs in the United States."

Details of the 2004 PET Recycling Rate Study and other information about PET can be found on the NAPCOR Web site at

Founded in 1987, the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) is the trade association for the PET plastic industry in the United States and Canada.
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Title Annotation:PLASTIC; National Association for PET Container Resources
Comment:PET recycling rate posts modest rise.(PLASTIC)(National Association for PET Container Resources )
Publication:Recycling Today
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2005
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