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U.S. PET Recycling Rate Stays Level

Editor's note: This story originally gave total volume of PET bottles collected incorrectly as 1.6 billion tons.

The U.S. recycling rate for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers held steady at 29.3 percent, while collection of postconsumer PET bottles and total recycled PET produced by U.S. reclaimers reached record levels, according to a new report.

Volume of PET bottles collected reached 1.6 billion pounds, while recycled PET produced in the United States totaled 667 million pounds, according to the annual report by the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) and the Washington-based Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR).

“We are pleased to see that PET collection increased in 2011 despite some challenges,” said Tom Busard, NAPCOR chairman and vice president of global procurement and material systems for Plastipak Packaging, in a news release from the Sonoma, Calif.-based NAPCOR. PET bottle lightweighting occurred to a greater extent in 2011 than had been seen in the past, which improves PET’s environmental footprint but means additional processing for PET recyclers to produce the same weights.

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