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The recycling of rigid plastics excluding bottles rose to nearly 1.02 billion pounds in 2012, an increase of 10 percent over 2011 and triple the amount recycled in 2007 when the industry first began tracking rigid plastics recycling.

The “2012 National Report on Postconsumer Non-Bottle Rigid Plastic Recycling” attributes the 82 million pound increase to rapid growth in the collection of plastics beyond bottles.

“Tripling the recycling rate for rigid plastics in just six years is an amazing accomplishment,” said Steve Alexander, executive director of the Association of Postconsumer Plastics Recyclers (APR).

Approximately 57 percent of the rigid plastics collected was processed in the U.S. and Canada with the remainder exported, primarily to China.

Primary domestic end uses for recycled rigid plastics include crates, buckets, pipe, auto parts and lawn and garden products. Consumer products such as cutting boards, food storage containers and other types of kitchenware are becoming popular end uses, as are toothbrushes and razors. A small portion of recycled rigid plastics is used in composite materials for products such as outdoor lumber, pallets and railroad ties.

Published in the May 2014 Edition of American Recycler News