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Associations tout recycling progress

Some in the recycling community have begun to wonder if America will ever be able to reach and sustain satisfactory recycling rates (see PW, July 1995, p.

8). Meanwhile articles in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere have cast a negative light on the effectiveness of curbside recycling raising doubts among consumers and government officials. Yet recent data supplied by two national trade associations show significant recycling progress. One such association is the National Soft Drink Assn. Its annual recycling rate study shows that Americans recycled nearly 48 billion soft drink containers in 1994 almost 4 billion more than in 1993. That raises the soft drink industry's recycling rate to 61% says NSDA. Meanwhile a survey conducted for the American Plastics Council by engineering consultant R.W. Beck and professional services firm Ernst & Young shows that plastic bottle recycling grew 21% over the previous year. According to the study recycling of plastic bottles produced more than 1.08 billion lb of post-consumer resin last year up from 891 million lb in 1993. "Americans are recycling more plastic bottles than ever before" says Red Cavaney president and CEO of APC. "But more needs to be done. Consumers must be strongly encouraged to continue to participate actively in local programs." The table here shows by bottle type the lbs of resin sold (virgin and PCR) lbs of PCR produced and the recycling rate or how much of the resin sold was recovered for reuse as PCR. Of all plastic bottles PET soft drink bottles currently boast the highest recycling rate. As the table shows 48.6% of the resin sold for the manufacture of PET soft drink bottles was reclaimed and sold as PCR.

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