Naples, Fla. — The U.S. recycling market still has some work to do to meet its goals.
"There needs to be a financial benefit to recycling," Leon Farahnik said March 5 as part of a recycling panel at the Plastics News Executive Forum in Naples. "We can't live with a 30 percent [PET bottle] collection rate across the country." Farahnik is chairman and CEO of CarbonLite Industries LLC in Los Angeles.
Bottle bills of 5 cents or 10 cents per bottle have been effective at raising recycling rates, according to Robert Daviduk, co-founder of rPlanet Earth in Vernon, Calif. But he added that the U.S. would need a PET recycling rate of around 70 percent to meet the 35 percent post-consumer material target set by some consumer products companies.
"I don't know how we're going to meet post-consumer targets without better collection," Farahnik added.
Recyclers need to look at the market for all materials, said Scott Saunders, president and general manager of KW Plastics Recycling in Troy, Ala. But numerous conflicts stand in the way.
"Soft drink companies and cities and [material recovery facilities] are fighting deposit bills," he said. "The soft drink people spend more on fighting deposits than they do on sustainability. And there isn't the will for bottle bills in the [U.S.] heartland."