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Recycling of rigid plastics achieves major milestone

Here’s a Hint: There’s a Good Chance You Can Recycle them in Your Area

HDPE injection grade bulky rigids on wash line at KW Plastics, Troy, AL

This week, there’s much good news to report on the recycling of rigid plastics, a category that includes cups, tubs and containers as well as larger items like toys and laundry baskets.

According to new data, recycling of rigid plastics (excluding bottles) climbed 13 percent in 2011 to reach at least 934 million pounds for the year, and U.S. consumers  who can recycle locally all non-bottle rigid plastics shot from 40 percent to 57 percent between 2011 and 2012.

What’s more, the portion of U.S. consumers who can recycle two key categories of rigid containers – HDPE rigid cups, tubs and containers and PET trays, clamshells and cups – now tops 60 percent, which means for the first time, under the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines, recycling access is sufficiently widespread to label these containers “recyclable” without the need for additional qualification or disclaimer.

Video: How to Recycle Plastics Properly

With recycling of these plastics containers now available to a substantial majority of Americans – in other words, surpassing the FTC’s 60 percent threshold – the recycling message can be greatly simplified, making it easier to educate consumers.

We’re very excited about these recent gains in plastics recycling and are working to encourage continued growth.

You can take a deeper dive into both reports Plastic Recycling Collection: National Reach Study, 2012 Update  and 2011 National Postconsumer Non-Bottle Rigid Plastic Recycling Report on our website and let us know what you think. Is your community recycling rigid plastics in addition to bottles yet?

So, what about bottles?

While bottles are also considered rigid plastics, bottles have been recycled for several years and are tracked separately. Over 94 percent of Americans can recycle their bottles. And when it comes to plastic bottles remember to put the cap back on and recycle.

Photo provided courtesy of KW Plastics

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