Rigid Plastics

A study by the Association of Post Consumer Recyclers (APR) was undertaken to determine the composition of the various types of mixed rigid plastic bales generated in North America...and to provide a theoretical estimate of the volume and type of non-bottle rigid plastic available for recycling. APR believes that more accurate estimates will strengthen and advance non-bottle rigid recycling.

In 2010, nearly 820 million pounds of post-consumer rigid plastics (packaging and non-packaging) were collected for recycling nationwide, an increase of 72 percent from 2009 and 154 percent since 2007 (reports).

“Non-bottle rigid plastics" includes nondurable items (or packaging), such as high-density polyethylene (HDPE) tubs, polypropylene (PP) cups and similar food containers, and durable items, such as pallets, crates, carts, 5-gallon buckets and electronic housings.

A growing number of reclaimers have begun processing non-bottle HDPE and PP containers to produce resin for new end products. The number of communities collecting mixed rigid plastics also has grown in response to demand.

For example, more than 63 percent of households in California now have access to recycling of non-bottle rigid plastics. In addition, New York City, Philadelphia and more than 60 communities in Connecticut have announced expansion plans. Most municipalities that collect non-bottle rigid plastics accept household containers, but a growing number also are adding bulkier rigid plastics, such as toys, lawn furniture, laundry baskets and other products.

Rigid Plastic Container Recycling Resources: