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Study Shows that PET Bottles are Widely Available for Recycling Nationwide

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Jacob Barron

WASHINGTON, D.C. – SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association participated in a study commissioned by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition2015-16 Centralized Study on Availability of Recycling for Beverage Containers. The study identifies the prevalence of recycling programs that accept beverage containers, including PET bottles/jugs & jars, aluminum beverage cans, glass beverage bottles and cartons. The findings on PET showed that a majority of the country, 92 percent of the U.S. population, can recycle PET bottles/jugs & jars.

“It’s important to make recycling available to consumers. The more convenient we can make recycling for consumers, the more people will recycle,” said George Southworth, director of industry affairs – RPPG & PMDAC at SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association. “This study shows many Americans have the resources they need to recycle, so it’s up to us to keep educating and advocating for more effective recycling.”

The study further breaks down the availability of recycling by the type of recycling available and finds that 54 percent of U.S. residents have automatic/universal curbside recycling of PET bottles/jugs & jars, while the other curbside programs were opt-in, which is available to 6 percent of the population, and subscription which is available to 8 percent of the population. In total, 68 percent of U.S. residents have some sort of curbside recycling available. Drop-off programs were available to 24 percent of the US population and, when combined with the curbside recycling availability, totals 92 percent of all programs – curbside and its subsidiaries and drop-off programs – available to the U.S. population.

This new study helps us to make a true assessment of the ease and availability of recycling by consumers across the country,This new study helps us to make a true assessment of the ease and availability of recycling by consumers across the country,” said Dan Mohs, chairman and CEO of Placon Corporation. “This report also serves as a contextual guide for brands who make claims about their recycling and sustainability efforts.”

This study was commissioned by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and conducted by Resource Recycling Systems and Moore Recycling Associates. Other project sponsors included the Can Manufacturers Institute, Carton Council, Glass Packaging Institute, National Association for PET Container Resources and The Aluminum Association.

Are PET-munching bacteria the next recycling breakthrough?

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PET-munching bacteria could be the key to the next breakthrough in plastics recycling.Delicious? Some bacteria might fancy this plastic bottle as a tasty snack.

Researchers in Japan have discovered Ideonella Sakaiensis after analysing microbes living on PET debris collected from soil and wastewater. The bacteria appeared to be feeding exclusively on the plastic breaking it down with enzymes – which must have been a recent evolutionary step given the short amount of time plastics have been around.

The team at the Kyoto Institute of Technology in Japan that made the discovery is led by Kohei Oda PhD.

“The bacterium is the first strain having a potential to degrade PET completely into carbon dioxide and water,” he said. “Large quantities of PET have accumulated in environments across the globe … so, to solve this problem, microbes that break it down could be useful.”

The findings of the Kyoto Institute of Technology team have been published in the journal Science.