Recycling Facts & Resources

Plastics. Too Valuable to Waste. Recycle. ™

Since 2007, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) has worked with partners in California to provide on-the-go recycling opportunities and to help educate Californians about the importance of recycling to protect our environment.

  • Through the partnerships created by Plastics. Too Valuable to Waste. Recycle., we have collected and recycled more than 84 tons of plastics and 459 tons of total recyclables since 2007.
  • Campaign partners include Keep California Beautiful, CalTrans, California State Department of Parks and Recreation, LA’s BEST, AEG/LA Galaxy and many more.
  • The campaign has placed nearly 700 recycling bins and educational signs encouraging recycling in 31 locations throughout the state to raise awareness of the connection between increasing recycling and reducing waste, litter and marine debris.
  • In 2012 alone, ACC conducted programs and provided recycling education resources that reached over 36,000 students to teach recycling and waste reduction habits in partnership with elementary schools, after-school programs and community groups like the Boys & Girls Club.

Recycling statistics and facts:

  • Recycling plastics has never been easier. Today, 94 percent of Americans have easy access to plastics recycling opportunities, whether you participate in a municipal curbside program or live near a drop-off site. (Source.
  • Recycling plastics helps valuable materials go on to live a second life as new consumer products. Recycled milk jugs, for example, can go on to become durable outdoor decking, playground equipment, and new containers.  Water bottles can become performance and stylish fashions, and yogurt and dairy tubs can become new car parts.
  • Many people reuse plastics—things like storage bins, sealable food containers and refillable sports bottles. These types of items can be used over and over to reduce waste.
  • The plastics industry supports recycling that is sustainable, economical and environmentally responsible. Since 1990, the plastics industry, as individual companies and through organizations such as ACC, has invested more than $2 billion to support increased recycling and educate communities in the United States.
  • In 2011, the recycling of plastic bottles reached a record high of over 2.6 billion pounds. The pounds of post-consumer plastic bottles collected and recycled in the United States has grown every year since 1990, and bottles remain one of the most widely recycled types of plastics. The recycling rate for plastic bottles has grown to 29 percent. (R.W. Beck, Inc. “2011 National Post-Consumer Plastic Bottle Recycling Report.” 2012)
  • Recycling of rigid plastics (excluding bottles) climbed 13 percent in 2011 to reach at least 934 million pounds for the year, and U.S. consumers who can recycle locally all non-bottle rigid plastics increased from 40 percent to 57 percent between 2011 and 2012. (Source: Plastic Recycling Collection: National Reach Study, 2012 Update and 2011 National Postconsumer Non-Bottle Rigid Plastic Recycling Report)
  • More than 1 billion pounds of plastic film was collected for recycling in 2011—that’s a 55% increase since 2005. (Source: Moore Recycling)

Recycling resources:

Have something you want to recycle?
Check Earth911 – you can enter your zip code and find nearby locations to recycle everything from basic paper and plastic to motor oil, paint and electronic waste.

Want more information about recycling in California?
Visit Cal Recycle for facts, information and tips or to find a recycling center near you.

Interested in learning more about how to keep our state clean?
The non-profit organization Keep California Beautiful is dedicated to making California the cleanest state in the nation. Click here to download the California Brochure.

Are you an educator or teacher?
Check out our Recycling Curriculum – a handy packet filled with trivia, lesson plans and games to help you teach kids about the value and importance of recycling.