PET recycling rate drops

The PET recycling rate fell to 19.9% in 2002, down from 22.1% in 2001, according to the National Assn. for PET Container Resources. In addition, the amount of PET collected for recycling dropped to 797 million lbs from 834 million lbs in 2001, marking the first decline since 1996.

Typically, the amount increases despite any decline in the rate because of widespread use of PET packaging.

NAPCOR said the declines in both rate and amount of PET recycling were due to

• less demand for recycled PET from fiber and sheet manufacturers because of the poor economy and lower prices for quality virgin material;

• relative maturity in some key PET packaging markets; and

• more single-serve containers consumed away from home and thrown away.

NAPCOR called for greater investment in community recycling programs, while some environmental groups said more bottle deposit laws are needed.

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