Waste recycled PET plastics are in high demand throughout the world and despite high numbers of recycling facilities and record collection rates, there is currently a shortage of PET material for businesses and manufacturers who use the plastic to generate new products. Unless this issue is addressed, it could result in escalating prices for those industries needing the material. Recycled PET is used in food and beverage containers, fibrous materials, and many household and office products.
There are now 23 PET recycling facilities in the U.S. and their capacity for handling daily waste plastics materials greatly exceeds the amount of material arriving. More work could be done, and more people could be employed, if more recycled bottles arrived. The demand for the material is there, the issue is collecting it after it becomes post-consumer waste.
The current PET recycling rate is close to 30% a rate that has been stable for the last few years. Many PET bottle and jars are now made with less plastic, creating a thinning, lighter product so more needs to be collected to meet and exceed the needs of manufacturers.
Some of the issues in supply stem from single-stream waste recycling, a popular choice in many municipalities for its ease of use and low maintenance, but results in higher contamination rates of materials. However, if collection rates can improve nationally, that can be offset by increased volume.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: The demand for recycled PET is high but collection rates are low. Whether you’re a manufacturer needing PET, a waste collection business, or a municipality, there’s an opportunity to increase revenue by increasing collection rates!