It’s always encouraging to see that Americans are recycling more of the materials they use every day, so we were pleased to see that plastic film recycling — the category of plastic recycling that includes plastic bags, product wraps and commercial shrink film — has grown so dramatically in just six years.
According to a new report from Moore Recycling, more than 1 billion pounds of plastic film was collected for recycling in 2011—that’s a 55% increase since Moore first began collecting the data in 2005. Since 2005 we’ve also seen tremendous growth in the collection infrastructure for film; today there are more than 15,000 recycling drop-off bins at many major grocers and even some national retailers like Target and Lowe’s. More than 90% of Americans have community recycling programs for plastic bags and flexible film packaging.
We’re proud to support efforts to further grow that infrastructure and spread the word to Americans everywhere. Through our Flexible Film Recycling Group (FFRG) we supported the development of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s How2Recycle recycling label for flexible film – a label designed to help consumers better understand where to recycle this material. The label is still in its pilot phase, but it’s already becoming a strong catalyst for film recycling by making it easier for people to do the right thing.
Our website, www.plasticfilmrecycling.org, makes recycling easier in one simple step, finding the nearest plastic film drop-off locations with just a zip code. Some environmental advocates point out that more could be done to get the millions of pounds of plastic film used by commercial businesses and industry to protect products. We agree, which is why we’re also working to help businesses collect more plastic film in their storerooms and warehouses. Working with committed partners will help us continue to see growth in film recycling rates and raise awareness with people everywhere.
To stay updated on all our plastics recycling news follow us @Recycle_Plastic, “like” us on Facebook, and be sure to check out our new film recycling by-the-numbers infographic for a visual look at the growth in this important area of plastics recycling.
Steve Russell, Vice president of the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council