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Recycling of Non-Bottle Rigid Plastics Jumps 72% in 2010, Report Says

Recycling of non-bottle rigid plastics increased 72 percent in 2010 compared with the previous year, according to a new report.

Developed by the Sonoma, Calif.-based Moore Recycling Associates Inc. for the Washington-based American Chemistry Council (ACC), the report indicates that nearly 820 million pounds of post-consumer rigid plastics were collected for recycling nationwide. That also represents an increase of 154 percent since 2007, the ACC said in a news release.

Non-bottle rigid plastics include nondurable items (or packaging), such as dairy and deli tubs, lids, yogurt cups and similar food containers, as well as durable items, such as pallets, crates, carts, 5-gallon buckets and electronic housings. The collection and recycling of non-bottle rigid plastics is relatively new and calculated separately from plastic bottles, the ACC said.

 “We are thrilled to see a rapid increase in the recycling of rigid plastics,” said Steve Russell, ACC vice president of plastics. “And given the strong trends in commercial participation, consumer access and simplified collection practices, we are very optimistic about continued growth.”

The number of U.S. cities among the largest 100 collecting rigid plastics in addition to plastic bottles doubled in the last three years to 59 in 2011 from 29 in 2008. The report also credited the growth of single-stream recycling for the increase.

Further, the report noted the growth of rigid plastics recycling in the commercial sector and strong pricing and demand.

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