Recycling

The bottled water industry has made significant inroads in reducing the amount of plastic used to make bottled water containers by light-weighting its packaging.  Between 2000 and 2011, the average weight of a 16.9-ounce PET (half-liter) plastic bottle has declined 47.7% to 9.89 grams. This has resulted in a savings of 3.3 billion pounds of PET resin since 2000.

Other innovative ways to improve recycling includes expanding the use of recycled PET (rPET) and exploring new compostable and bio-degradable plastics.  Many bottled water companies are already using up to 50% recycled material in their plastic bottles.

Now at 38.04%, the recycling rate for single serve PET plastic bottled water containers has doubled in the last eight years.  And, according to the Association of PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), empty plastic water bottles are the most frequently recycled PET beverage container in curbside recycling programs.  In addition, 3 and 5 gallon plastic bottled containers are reused between 30-50 times before being recycled.

Plastic bottles have made it convenient for people to enjoy refreshing cold bottled water at and away from home. Using PET plastic to package beverages has made drinks more light-weight and easier to transport than cans.  In addition, it also requires less energy to produce PET containers than cans or glass.

Did you know…

  • Data derived from EPA figures demonstrates that plastic water bottles make up less than one-third of one percent of the U.S. waste stream
  • PET plastics are 100% recyclable
  • Plastic bottled water containers are the most frequently recycled PET beverage container in national curbside recycling programs
  • More than 90% of U.S. households have access to curbside and drop off recycling programs
  • Of all the plastics produced in the United States, PET plastic bottled water packaging makes up only 0.92% -- less than one percent
  • Producing new products from rPET uses two-thirds less energy than required to make products from raw virgin materials. It also reduces greenhouse gas emissions
  • Recycled plastic bottles can be made into new bottles or items such as plastic lumber for outdoor decking, playground equipment, carpeting, clothing, and car parts
  • Recycling a single plastic bottle can conserve enough energy to light a 60-wattt light bulb for up to six hours
  • In the United States, plastic bottle recycling by consumers has reached a record high of more than 2.5 billion pounds.

To learn more about PET, please visit the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR).