Plastic bottle recycling grew to 2.9 billion pounds for the latest year, according to the annual report compiled by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) and the American Chemistry Council (ACC).
It is the 24th consecutive year that Americans have increased the pounds of plastic bottles collected for recycling, according to a joint news release from the Washington-based associations.
In 2013 the collection of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) bottles climbed 26 million pounds from the previous year to 1.05 billion pounds. However, the recycling rate remained flat at 31.6 percent.
The report indicated several other trends for 2013 in plastic bottle recycling. Single-stream collection continues to grow. Plastic bottle use in packaging applications is increasing but is offset by continued light-weighting and use of concentrates with smaller, lighter bottles. And lack of access to recycling away from home continues to be a barrier to further recycling growth.
In addition, reclaimers are capturing greater value through enhanced sorting operations.
Domestic processing of post-consumer plastic bottles has advanced, while exports of plastic bottle bales fell to 20.4 percent to 28.4 percent, the lowest level in five years.