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Plastic Bottle Recycling Rises Slightly in 2011

The plastic bottle recycling rate inched up slightly to 28.9 percent in 2011, while plastic bottle recycling by consumers increased 1.7 percent for the year, according to a new report.

The annual report issued by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) and the American Chemistry Council (ACC), both based in Washington, determined that the overall rate increased one-tenth of a percent. Consumer recycling increased to 2.6 billion pounds for year, up 45 million pounds from the previous year, the APR said in a news release.

Pounds of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) bottles collected declined 1 percent for the year. Recycling of polypropylene bottles rose nearly 24 percent.

Recycling of plastic bottles in the United States has increased in each of the 22 years the post-consumer recycling report has been issued.

The continued growth of single-stream recycling has helped boost participation rates, the associations said.

 “With reduced exports and increased imports of recovered bottles, plastic bottle recycling continues to be an international business with domestic companies competing effectively,” said APR Executive Director Steve Alexander.


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