Feb 28, 2013

Reports Show Increased Bottled Water Recycling

Recycling rate for bottled water reaches nearly 39%

IBWA Bottled Water Recycling NAPCOR

The International Bottled Water Assn. (IBWA) announced that new data from the National Assn. for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) and the Beverage Marketing Corp. (BMC) show that the bottled water industry is continuing to reduce its environmental footprint through significant increases in recycling and the use of less plastic in single-serve PET bottled water containers.

According to NAPCOR, the recycling rate for single-serve PET plastic bottled water containers has more than doubled in the last seven years, to almost 39%. In addition, BMC found that over the last 11 years, the average weight of a 16.9-oz (half-liter) single-serve PET plastic bottled water container has dropped by almost 47.8%, to 9.9 grams.

According to a January 2013 internal NAPCOR study, the national recycling rate for PET plastic bottled water containers jumped dramatically in 2011 to 38.6%, representing an increase over the previous year’s rate of 32.25%. In its study, NAPCOR states that in 2011 (the most recent available data), there were approximately 1.3 billion lb of PET plastic water bottle containers available for recycling in the U.S., of which 500 million lb was reclaimed for recycling. And, PET plastic bottled water containers are the most frequently recycled PET beverage container in curbside recycling programs.

Additionally, data released by BMC on Jan. 31, 2013, shows that between 2000 and 2011, the average weight of a 16.9-ounce (half-liter) PET plastic bottled water container has declined 47.8%. This has resulted in a savings of 3.3 billion lb of PET resin since 2000.

The significant increase in the recycling rate of PET plastic bottled water containers, coupled with the continuing decrease in container weight, underscores the consistent drive of the bottled water industry to improve recycling programs and reduce its overall environmental footprint.

“The bottled water industry utilizes a variety of measures to reduce our environmental footprint,” said Chris Hogan, vice president of communications for IBWA. “All bottled water containers are 100% recyclable.  And, when you do the math, it turns out that of all the plastics produced in the U.S., PET plastic bottled water packaging makes up only 0.92%; less than 1%. Moreover, plastic bottled water containers make up only one-third of one percent of the U.S. waste stream, according to the EPA.”