For the second consecutive week, a new post-consumer plastic bottle recycling report shows falling numbers in the United States.
The latest report, jointly released by the American Chemistry Council and the Association of Plastic Recyclers, shows recycling fell by 2.4 percent in 2016 to about 2.9 billion pounds.
This includes PET, high and low density polyethylene, polypropylene and PVC bottles.
PET and HDPE make up the vast majority of plastic bottles used in the United States, 97.1 percent of the total, according to the 27th annual National Postconsumer Plastics Bottle Recycling Rate Report issued Nov. 7.
The larger report follows a PET-specific post-consumer recycling report issued recently by APR and the National Association for PET Container Resources.
The overall post-consumer plastic bottle recycling rate was 29.7 percent in 2016, down from 31.1 percent in 2015.
HDPE bottle recycling fell by 31.7 million pounds, or 2.8 percent, to “just over 1.1 billion pounds” in 2016, the trade groups reported. The overall recycling rate for these types of bottles — think milk jugs and laundry detergent bottles, for example — fell from 34.4 to 33.4 percent.
PET bottles, as outlined in the earlier report, fell by 44 million pounds to 1.753 billion pounds in 2016. That's down from 1.797 billion pounds in 2015 and an all-time high of 1.812 billion pounds in 2014.
A bright spot in the report is that post-consumer PP bottle recycling continues to increase. While still a small portion of the overall post-consumer bottle market, PP recycling spiked by 15.3 percent in 2016 to 36.6 million pounds. Overall PP collection rate is now over 20 percent.
The PP bottle increase could not blunt the overall decline, however, because that segment only represents 1.8 percent of the postconsumer plastic bottle market in the United States. PET and HDPE account for 97.1 percent, and LDPE checks in at 0.7 percent. PVC is at 0.3 percent, the report states.