United States shows impressive growth in plastic bottle recycling during 2010

Plastic bottles are one of the many waste products that threaten landfills all around the country, but it looks like consumers are finally catching on and doing their part to properly dispose of these materials. According to PlastEurope.com, plastic bottle recycling jumped 5 percent during 2010 to achieve a 29 percent recycling rate. While there is still a long way to go to improve these numbers, the increasing recycling rates are a telltale sign that Americans are finding ways to recycle more and thinking twice before throwing a plastic bottle in the trash.

These numbers refer to PET and HDPE plastic - PET is typically the material used to make soda bottles, while HDPE (high-density polyethylene) is much thicker and is primarily used to create athletic bottles. PET and HDPE plastic make up close to 96 percent of the US plastic bottle market and 99 percent of those that are recycled. These items can be broken down into a basic resin that can be made into new bottles and other products.

"Recycling plastic such as PET and re-processing it for next-life use is not only critical to the viability of our industry, but it's simply good practice, both environmentally and economically," Scott Saunders, APR chairman and general manager of KW Plastics Recycling, told the news source. "Recycling and remanufacturing of recycled material captures and re-purposes the value inherent in the material, provides local jobs, and local tax revenues."

This increase in recycling rates is modest, but it shows that public recycling initiatives have done their part to give consumers other options when they need to throw out their trash. These numbers have nowhere to go but up, so hopefully the United States can reach another plastic bottle recycling milestone in the near future.