EPA adjusts 2010 PET recycling rate

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WASHINGTON (Feb. 13 12:10 p.m. ET) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has revised its 2010 Municipal Solid Waste Characterization study, saying recycling of PET containers was 29.2 percent, not the 21 percent previously reported.

EPA said in a statement that the previous recycling rate did not include caps, lids and other materials with the bottles. The revised number includes caps and lids.

“We made this change because it is more consistent with how we measure other materials in the report,” EPA said on its website. “This is how we measured the recycling for PET bottles and jars in previous years as well.”

The change also brought the national recycling rate up to 34.1 percent from 34 percent.

The recycling rate for consumer electronics fell from 26.6 percent to 19.6 percent in the revised report. That change was also cited as following previous methodology, EPA said.

The study, originally released in November, said Americans generated 249.9 million tons of waste in 2010, with 85.1 million tons of that material either recycled or composted.