One billion pounds plastic film recovered in 2011

One billion pounds plastic film recovered in 2011

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

The amount of plastic film collected for recycling has reached a new milestone, with 1 billion pounds of the material recovered in 2011, according to a new report.

The report, prepared by Moore Recycling Associates, Inc. for the American Chemistry Council, found that the amount of plastic film — including plastic bags, product wraps and commercial shrink film — recycled in 2011 rose by 4 percent from the 971 million pounds that was collected the previous year.

Domestic uses for plastic film have increased, according to the report. In 2011, about 58 percent of post-consumer film recovered in the U.S. was used domestically, a jump from the previous year's 53 percent. Much of this increase, according to the report, was driven by the composite lumber industry, which saw a 120-million-pound increase in consumption between 2010 and 2011, reaching 55 percent of the total market for recovered film.

Regarding plastic bags and sacks, often the subject of legislation aimed at curbing their use, the report had this to say:

"In 2011, the percentage of bags and sacks in mixed film bales, reported by reclaimers, was extremely varied (from a low of 12 percent to a high of 85 percent). Thus, there is great uncertainty in the total recovery of bags and sacks. But, by using the reported reclaimer average along with curbside and mixed film reported, our rough estimate is that 151 million pounds of bags and sacks were collected for recycling – representing a 19 percent increase from 2010."

 

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