US recycling market growing despite challenges

Published: November 13, 2013 2:55 pm ET
Updated: November 14, 2013 12:23 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Recycling, Industry Trends

AKRON, OHIO — The North American plastic recycling sector had its own particular set of challenges in 2012-2013, but none of those hurdles have been able to stop the industry from growing, though the growth hasn’t been as robust as industry participants might have expected.

According to a Plastics News report titled “Plastic Recycling Market Review and Outlook 2014 — North America — Post-consumer & Post-Industrial,” the U.S. PET recycling rate increased for the eighth consecutive year in 2011. However, the rate of increase was the lowest posted by the market since 2006. At 29.3 percent, the national gross recycling rate was more than 5 percentage points above where it was in 2006, according to the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), an industry association based in Sonoma, Calif. NAPCOR released its most recent recycling report in late 2012 through a partnership with the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR).

The increased recycling rate can be attributed, in part, to the increase in the volume of bottles collected in the United States. That amount increased from less than 1.3 billion pounds in 2006 to just over 1.6 billion pounds in 2011 — an increase of 26 percent.

Another contributing factor, according to the report, was a drop in the volume of plastic bottles on U.S. shelves. Volume peaked at almost 5.7 billion pounds in 2007, with the United States and the rest of the world teetering on the edge of a global recession. By 2009, that volume declined to below 5.2 million pounds. It remained under 5.5 million pounds in 2011. Reasons behind the drop in volume included a shift in consumer tastes, as Americans moved away from consumption of carbonated drinks — the PET market’s largest single sector — and of bottle lightweighting, which allowed fewer grams of PET to be used in each bottle.  

The collection of more bottles, combined with the drop in bottle volume, created a positive directional trend when factored together.

The data report also provides in-depth analysis of the North American plastics recycling industry and trends impacting the market, including performance for 2012 and 2013 and the future outlook. It includes a discussion of market conditions, opportunities and threats and strategies implemented by leading post-consumer and post-industrial material recyclers.

The report also offers perspectives from industry thought leaders regarding their views on industry trends, supply and demand outlook and global growth initiatives. These perspectives include:

* Mike Biddle, founder and president, MBA Polymers Inc.

* Scott Mouw, director, North Carolina Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach

* Doug Ritchie, owner, Star Plastics

To learn more about this report and other Plastics News Reports, visit www.plasticsnews.com/data, or contact Glenn Glasberg at 330-865-6161 or gglasberg@crain.com.


Comments

US recycling market growing despite challenges

Published: November 13, 2013 2:55 pm ET
Updated: November 14, 2013 12:23 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Report: Brands are falling short on packaging sustainability

January 29, 2015 5:19 pm ET

Packaging in general, and plastic packaging in particular, has a long way to go in terms of recycling, according to a pair of environmental groups.    More

Image

FPI joins curbside recycling group

January 28, 2015 11:47 am ET

Foodservice Packaging Institute is joining the board of the Curbside Value Partnership, a non-profit group that works to improve curbside recycling...    More

Image

Agricultural container recycling grows

January 28, 2015 11:42 am ET

Plastic pestitcide container recycling shot up by nearly 40 percent last year, according to new statistics from the Virginia Department of...    More

Image

Linder showing HDPE recycling system

January 28, 2015 11:08 am ET

Lindner washTech GmbH will show its technology for washing and drying shredded post-consumer plastic, at its NPE 2015 Booth S26189.    More

Image

Major packaging merger includes plastics operations

January 26, 2015 12:24 pm ET

A merger of packaging companies MeadWestvaco Corp. and Rock-Tenn Inc. will create a new company with nearly $16 billion in annual sales.    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Automotive: Innovation & Emerging Trends

This special report newly released by PN and sponsored by The Conair Group examines current trends in the use of plastics in automotive, materials innovations and the changing landscape. It includes a review of legislative/regulatory activity impacting vehicle development and lightweighting, market opportunities & challenges for mold and toolmakers, innovative design strategies being implemented by major OEMs and suppliers, as well as a review of key indicators in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and China.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events