Recycling rate going from bad to worse
This comment is in reference to the Waste News article of Aug. 24 titled ``Plastics recycling drops.''
This article basically states that there have been consecutive yearly recycling declines in post-consumer plastics. The percentage decline in post-consumer plastic can be considered ``small change'' when compared with the current drastic declines in post-industrial plastic recycling.
The Asian monetary crisis has had an immediate effect on shipments to all Pacific Rim countries. West Coast industry sources have indicated a drop of more than 60 percent in container shipments since July of this year. The majority of the products being shipped consist of high density polyethylene grocery bags, low density polyethylene stretch and other high-volume materials.
The point I want to make is that post-consumer declines, severe declines in virgin resin pricing, and general offshore devaluations have combined for major recycling percentage reductions far in excess of the imagination of the American Plastics Council.
If things aren't bad enough already, further decline is possible, and there is definite evidence that there will be no improvement in the foreseeable future.
Innovative Waste Management
Editor's note: The story ``Plastic bottle recycling rate keeps sliding'' also ran in the Aug. 24 issue of Plastics News.
U.S. needs bottle bill, not more bottle bins
In his Aug. 24, Page 1 article ``Plastic bottle recycling rate keeps sliding,'' Steve Toloken reported that one of NAPCOR's solutions to declining PET bottle recovery is to ``double the 3,500 bottle-shaped recycling bins NAPCOR is placing at spots where single-serve bottles are sold.'' This so-called solution to the problem of falling PET bottle recycling rates is no solution at all.
These small, bottle-shaped recycling bins only hold about 200 uncrushed, 20-ounce PET soda bottles. If each bin is emptied once a week, the total yield would be an additional 36.4 million PET soda bottles collected for recycling, or about 2.7 million pounds.
That may sound like a lot to the person on the street, but it is not even a blip compared to the 977 million pounds of PET soda bottles discarded in 1997.
If NAPCOR's bin idea is going to work, Coke and Pepsi need to step up to the plate and get the bins at all commercial establishments. Another 772,727 bins ought to do it. If the public actually used the bins, that would get us to a 75 percent recycling rate for PET soda bottles.
Of course, an easier and more foolproof solution would be a national bottle bill, which would more than double the PET soft drink container recycling rate from 36 percent to 75 percent.
Container Recycling Institute