NAPCOR: slight dip in US and North American PET recycling rates

NAPCOR: slight dip in US and North American PET recycling rates

Sustainability

The 2022 PET Recycling Report, recently published by the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), reveals a stable landscape for PET recycling rates, with the US holding at 29% and the North American PET recycling rate at 37.8%. Notably, the report underscores a robust demand for recycled PET (rPET) throughout 2022, marking a significant milestone as over 50% of end-market consumption in the US and Canada occurred in bottle markets for the first time.

While the PET recycling collection rate has remained consistent at around 30% over the past decade, there is a growing appetite for increased post-consumer recycled content among North American end markets.

To address this escalating demand, the report emphasises the necessity for collecting more PET packaging, urging the implementation of new policies, shifts in consumer habits, and enhanced recycling infrastructure.

Key insights from the report's analysis of PET reclamation and markets include:

  • The PET recycling rate in the US experienced a slight decline from 30.3% in 2021 to 29% in 2022. Similarly, the North American (US, Canada, and Mexico) rate saw a marginal decrease from 38.4% in 2021 to 37.8% in 2022.
  • 2022 witnessed a substantial 15% growth in recycled content used in US bottles, with an impressive consumption of 870 million pounds of rPET.
  • Bottles continued to dominate the end market segment for rPET, showing even greater significance in 2022.
  • The report highlights the imperative need for significant increases in PET collection to meet the recycled content demands projected for the future. To achieve the widely quoted target of 25% rPET content in all US bottles by 2025, PET recyclers would require 1.75 billion pounds of collected PET—representing an 85% increase from 2022. Furthermore, to attain a 50% recycled content goal by 2030 in US bottles, a staggering 3.87 billion pounds of post-consumer PET feedstock would be essential, more than tripling the weight collected in 2022.
Laura Stewart, NAPCOR Executive Director, said: There is a growing demand for recycled content from manufacturers within both the food/beverage and non-food bottle categories. This is continued evidence that packaging made from PET can be reused and repurposed and has a key role to play in the circular economy. Everyone involved, including manufacturers, consumers and packagers, needs to work together and make significant changes to ensure enough PET is collected and full circularity can be achieved.

To access the 2022 PET Recycling Report, visit NAPCOR’s website at https://napcor.com/reports-resources/.

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