Plastic packaging is valuable and should be recycled where possible. Recycling as many packaging materials as we can further enhances its sustainability. More and more everyday plastics are now being recycled– including bottles, caps, rigid containers, bags and film product wraps. So how much plastic gets recycled? ACC tracks this information annually for three categories of plastics.
A recent national study found that more than 90% of Americans can recycle plastic bottles in their communities. Over 3.0 billion pounds of plastic bottles (for beverages, household cleaners, detergents, etc.) were recycled in the U.S. in 2015. Today nearly 32% of plastic bottles are recycled.
Recycling of non-bottle plastic containers (dairy tubs, deli containers, lids, etc.) reached nearly 1.3 billion pounds in 2015, four times the amount recycled in 2007. A recent study found that more than 60% of Americans now can recycle these rigid containers , so product labels can identify these containers as “recyclable,” which is expected to help further increase recycling rates.
Plastic film wrap recycling grew to more than 1.2 billion pounds in 2015, up 79% from 2005. This category of plastic recycling includes plastic bags from retails and grocery stores, newspaper bags, and dry cleaning bags, plus plastic film wraps from bread, diapers, bathroom tissue, paper towels, beverage cases, and more. Today there are nearly 18,000 locations across the country where consumers can drop off plastic bags and wraps for recycling, typically in specially marked ins in front of large grocery and retail chains.