As sustainability concerns continue to remain at the forefront of packaging discussions, using a recyclable and environmentally conscious packaging material is an essential requirement for many converters and brand owners. However, selecting a material that is recyclable is only half of the battle. While certain plastics materials technically recyclable, research has shown that infrastructure supporting the recycling of certain materials is not widely available to a small portion of the population. So steps to ensure that you are choosing a material that consumers can actively recycle for diversion into other applicatons is an important piece of the puzzle.
To give insight to recycling rates of different plastic materials, since 2009 the plastics division of the American Chemistry Council has commissioned a study on recycling rates in the US. Continue reading to learn more about the findings of the 2015 National Post-Consumer Non-Bottle Rigid Plastic Recycling Report!
The 2015 National Post-Consumer Non-Bottle Rigid Plastic Recycling Report, released in March of 2017, is the 9th annual report focused on reporting pounds of post-consumer non-bottle rigid plastic, for both packaging and non-packaging, recovered for recycling in the US.
Research for this report was conducted by Moore Recycling Associates on behalf of the plastics division of the American Chemistry Council. Data collected for this study is compiled through a voluntary annual survey that also gathers data on bottles, films and other plastics. Data specific to non-bottle rigid plastic was gathered from mixed rigid plastic and non-bottle material segregated by resin and product type.
For the 2015 report, a minimum of 1.24 billion pounds of post-consumer non-bottle rigid plastic were reported as recovered for recycling in 2015 which marks the second highest year on record and nearly four times greater than what was reported eight years ago when the study was first conducted. Because participation in this survey is voluntary, data in this report is not a complete representation of the total market, therefore, values reported in the study represent the minimum amount of plastic recovered and sold in the market.
To learn more about the sustainability of PP, check out our blog post: Improve the Sustainability of your Packaging with Polypropylene
The 2015 edition reported that polypropylene comprised the largest proportion of the non-bottle rigid plastic recycled for this year, at 41%, up from a reported 38.3% in the 2014 report. This marks the 5th year in a row that PP has been reported as the highest percentage of material recycled in this category. The increase in PP volume can be attributed to an increase seen in mixed resin rigid bale categories as well as PP mixed rigid bales. Second to PP was HDPE at 33%, down from 34.1% in the 2014 report. PET also increased over the previous year from 11.8% to 13%.
The findings of this study can serve to encourage converters and brand owners that by choosing PP their sustainability initiatives will go full-circle, and won’t stop at the landfill. To further support this, the “2015-2016 Centralized Study on Availability of Plastic Recycling Study” reported that the majority of the US population has access to recycling programs that accept PP containers. Recycled polypropylene is currently being reused in a variety of applications such as home storage, composite lumber, flower pots and battery cases.
Looking improve the sustainability cred of your plastic packaging? Get in touch with our team to learn more about how you can use polypropylene sheet for your next application.
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