October 10, 2014
Recycling of PET bottles rose to 31.2 percent in 2013 from 30.8 percent in 2012, according to the annual study by the Florence, Ky.-based National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) and the Washington-based Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR).
Communities in the United States collected a record total of 1,798 million pounds of PET bottles in 2013, according to a news release. Also, producers of U.S. bottles used a record 475 million pounds of recycled PET content.
Total use of recycled PET in domestic markets advanced, to 1,513 million pounds in 2013 from 1,312 million pounds in 2012.
“Demand for recycled PET continues to grow, with domestic use in bottles, polyester fiber and other applications increasing year-over-year,” said Tom Busard, NAPCOR chairman, chief procurement officer for Plastipak Packaging Inc. and president of Clean Tech, Plastipak’s recycling affiliate. “Limited recycled PET supply is still a barrier to growth, but PET reclaimers really boosted their operations in 2013, easily absorbing the increase in bottles collected, and pulling back material that had been exported in previous years.”
The associations also cited the industry’s ongoing challenges. Collection of PET bottles for recycling continues to lag far behind demand, underutilizing a strong domestic PET recycling structure with more than 2 billion pounds of capacity. Also, PET bale yields continue to be low.
“Despite very real challenges for PET recyclers due to limited supply and decreasing bale yields, this report shows a maturing, entrepreneurial industry that continues to innovate and find new material sources and process efficiencies,” said Scott Saunders, APR chairman and general manager, KW Plastics Recycling Division.