Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
p>That 2011 was the first year that more than a billion pounds of plastic film was recycled in the U.S. is great news, but the national report done by Moore Recycling Associates, Inc. on behalf of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) that was released on Monday contains even more good news about the growth of plastics film recycling in America.
The amount of plastic film recycled in the U.S. during 2011 was 55 percent more than what was recycled in 2005, and the trend looks set to continue, and even grow. Film recycling in 2011 was up four percent over 2010, and 2011 was the first time that the total
Another major piece of good news in the report is where the recovered film was sold. In 2011, domestic sales of recycled film rose to 58 percent of the total film recovered. From 2006 to 2009 more than half the film
recovered in the USA was sold to overseas markets. The trend reversed in 2010 as domestic sales outstripped overseas sales, and that trend is continuing. A significant reason for the domestic increase was the composite lumber industry increasing its consumption of recycled film by 120 million pounds in 2011 over 2010.
Recycled polyethylene (PE) film is used to produce a variety of new products. Besides the durable and attractive composite lumber used in outdoor decking and fencing, home building products, garden products, crates, pipe, and new film packaging like plastic bags are made of reclaimed PE.
The data in the 2011 National Postconsumer Plastic Bag & Film Recycling Report are based on a survey of 19 U.S. and three Canadian processors of postconsumer film, as well as 37 companies that export the material.
The ACC’s Flexible Film Recycling Group (FFRG), which represents resin makers, film converters, brand owners, and recyclers is actively working to increase both commercial and consumer participation in the film recycling process.
In addition, the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA), an SPI Special Interest Group, is active in promoting the recycling of plastic bags, particularly as the better alternative to bag bans. Currently, there are more than 15,000 places across the USA where consumers can drop off used PE bags, mostly at large grocery and other retail stores.