Bottled Water Industry Supports America Recycles Day 2010

International Bottled Water Association | NEWS RELEASE | November 15, 2010

Bottled Water Industry Supports America Recycles Day 2010

Alexandria, VA – The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) applauds efforts to encourage consumers to always recycle, a key aim of the America Recycles Day campaign. This event was founded by ‘Keep America Beautiful” thirteen years ago and has been celebrated each year on November 15 to remind Americans about the importance of personal recycling and the need for effective community recycling programs.

Plastic bottled water containers – whether single serve PET, or home and office delivery (HOD) 3 and 5 gallon jugs – are all 100 percent recyclable. In addition, HOD plastic water jugs are reusable. The bottled water industry has encouraged recycling for many years and taken actions to help improve community curbside recycling programs.

“Efforts to educate consumers about recycling empty plastic water bottles appear to be having an effect. A 2008 National Association of PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) study (the most recent data available) found recycling rates for bottled water containers at a decade high of 30.9 percent,” said Tom Lauria, Vice President of Communications at the IBWA, “That’s a 32 percent improvement over the previous year, and more than 50 percent improvement since 2006.” Currently, bottled water containers are the single most recycled item in single stream curbside recycling programs. In 2008, data from the “Post-Consumer Plastic Bottle Recycling Report” indicates the recycling rate for all plastic bottles is 27 percent.

“It is encouraging that the improvement of bottled water container recycling is now over the 30% mark, but we are reminded that still more needs to be done by bottled water companies and all companies producing consumer products packaged in plastic,” Mr. Lauria said.

Furthermore, the industry has made significant inroads in reducing the amount of virgin plastic used to make bottled water containers by light-weighting its packaging. Over the past 8 years, the total weight of PET plastic bottled water containers has been reduced by 32 percent. This has saved over 1.3 billion pounds of PET resin plastic. Other innovative ways to improve recycling is by expanding the use of recycled PET (rPET), and exploring new compostable and bio-degradable plastics.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, PET bottled water containers as comprise only 1/3 of one percent of the U.S. waste stream. Although a relatively small amount, bottled water companies are serious about bringing that statistic down even further. Earlier this year, members of the International Bottled Water Association approved a plan that would see our industry work more closely with municipalities to improve the recovery of recyclable material, primarily through the expansion of single-stream curbside recycling collection programs. Right now, approximately half of American communities do not have such programs.

“IBWA’s ‘Material Recovery Program’ framework is intended to assist in developing new, comprehensive solutions to help manage solid waste in communities throughout in the United States by having all consumer product companies work together with state and local governments to improve recycling and waste collection efforts,” Mr. Lauria said. “The bottled water industry is ready to take action on this front, but to truly improve how America recycles, we need a comprehensive effort that focuses on all consumer product packaging.”

“America Recycles Day is an important, one-day event, but consumers should think about recycling everyday and make a point to do it right,” Mr. Lauria said. In order to reach consumers about recycling, IBWA recently partnered with Earth, a major consumer education services company and website that addresses product end-of-life solutions and provides proper disposal information for more than 200 consumer products in over 120,000 locations. IBWA sponsors the website’s section on plastic bottle recycling. (

“America Recycles Day is a time to spotlight the importance of recycling, and I encourage all bottled water drinkers to take the America Recycles Day pledge (,” he said.

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The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) is the authoritative source of information about all types of bottled waters, including spring, mineral, purified, artesian, and sparkling. Founded in 1958, IBWA’s membership includes U.S. and international bottlers, distributors and suppliers. IBWA is committed to working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates bottled water as a packaged food product, to set comprehensive and stringent standards for safe, high-quality bottled water products.  

In addition to FDA regulations, IBWA member bottlers must adhere to the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice, which mandates additional standards and practices that in some cases are more stringent than federal and state regulations. A key feature of the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice is a mandatory annual plant inspection by an independent, third-party organization.  

IBWA is proud to be a partner with Keep America Beautiful and a supporter of Drink Up, an initiative of former First Lady Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), which encourages Americans to drink more water more often – whether from the tap, a filter, or in a bottle. Choosing water is always the healthy choice.