Bottled Water Container Recycling Rate Increases 32%

November 11, 2009

ALEXANDRIA, VA — The national recycling rate for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottled water containers (.5 liter or 16.9 ounce) now stands at 30.9% for 2008, an improvement of 32% over the 2007 rate, according to two new studies by the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR):  2008 Post Consumer PET Bottle Bale Composition Analysis and 2008 Report on PET Water Bottle Recycling.

“This big improvement in bottled water container recycling over the 30% mark, while encouraging, reminds us that still more needs to be done,” said Tom Lauria, Vice President of Communications at the International Bottled Water Association.

The 2007 NAPCOR study on water bottle recycling showed the recycling rate for water bottles was 23.4%, representing a 16.42% increase over the 2006 recycling rate of 20.1%.

The 2008 studies examined post-consumer PET bottle bales in 15 locations in 14 states, and the analysis found:  “NAPCOR determined that the total number of pounds of PET bottles and jars available in the United States for recycling in 2008 was 5.366 billion. This number reflects the total amount of PET bottle resin used by U.S. bottle manufacturers from U.S., foreign, and recycled sources, less scrap generated and not reused, exported bottles and pre-forms, and bottles less than eight ounces in size.

Average Gram Weight per Bottle Declined by 26.7% Over Past Seven Years

In tandem with the new NAPCOR studies, the IBWA has tracked the average amount of plastic used in .5 liter (16.9 ounce) PET bottles, using published data from the Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC) to determine a light-weighting trend in the bottled water industry. In the year 2000, the average weight of a plastic water bottle was 18.9 grams and since then has declined consistently on an annual basis.  In 2007 (the last year BMC has complete data) the average weight of a PET water bottle was 13.83 grams, which represents a plastic decrease of 26.7%. This light-weighting trend is steadily continuing as some bottled water brands introduce consumers to a 10.0 gram PET bottle.

“Bottle weight is swiftly tumbling downward as recycling rates for bottled water containers have risen sharply,” said Mr. Lauria. “It is very clear that the bottled water industry is consistently heading in the right direction year after year, while delivering the convenience, safety and refreshing hydration that made bottled water so popular in the first place.”   


Contact: Tom Lauria (703) 647-4609

# # #

The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) is the authoritative source of information about all types of bottled waters. Founded in 1958, IBWA's membership includes U.S. and international bottlers, distributors and suppliers. IBWA is committed to working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates bottled water as a packaged food product, and state governments to set stringent standards for safe, high quality bottled water products. In addition to FDA and state regulations, the Association requires member bottlers to adhere to the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice, which mandates additional standards and practices that in some cases are more stringent than federal and state regulations. A key feature of the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice is an annual plant inspection by an independent, third party organization. Consumers can contact IBWA at 1-800-WATER-11 or log onto IBWA's web site ( for more information about bottled water and a list of members' brands. Media inquiries can be directed to VP of Communications Tom Lauria at 703-647-4609 or[email protected].