Consumer packaging can have a new life today more than ever

International Bottled Water Association | News Release | November 15, 2023

Alexandria, VA – Technological advances at recycling facilities across the U.S. means more consumer packaging can be given a new life, an important step in increasing people’s confidence that their “recycle right” efforts are making a difference, the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) said on America Recycles Day (ARD).

IBWA is a proud sponsor of ARD, an initiative of Keep America Beautiful (KAB) that is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. ARD focuses on educating consumers about proper recycling practices and motivating them to improve their recycling habits to increase recycling rates.

The bottled water industry is aware that recycling can be confusing, but the one item that consumers need not to be confused about recycling is bottled water containers. All bottled water bottles (made from plastic and glass) are 100% recyclable. PET #1 (used to produce single-serving sized bottles and 3- and 5-gallon containers) and HDPE #2 (the packaging material of choice for 1-gallon jugs) continue to be the most recycled of all plastics in curbside bins.  In addition, 3- and 5-gallon bottled water containers made from PC #5 can be returned and refilled up to 40 times before being recycled by bottlers.   

When placed in a recycle bin, those containers have an 80 – 89% success rate of actually being fully recycled. Using recycled material to make new items and packaging reduces the need to use virgin plastic, which means less greenhouse gases are emitted in the manufacturing process of those products.

And here’s the kicker: “Demand for recycled plastic material is outpacing the supply of post-consumer plastic that is being collected and processed,” the Association of Plastic Recyclers reports.

KAB’s ARD focuses on “individual actions” that collectively can make a big difference.

“Instead of thinking that their efforts are limited only to the single items they place in their own recycle bins, consumers should consider the big picture: There are 330 million people in the United States – if everyone practiced better recycling behaviors, that collective effort would be a game-changer for not only the recycling industry but also the global environment.” says IBWA Vice President of Communications Jill Culora.

Recycling all consumer packaging that is recyclable will:

  • keep the material out of landfills
  • reduce the need for virgin material
  • lessen greenhouse gas emissions

KAB has developed a “Recycling Reality Check” quiz that tests consumers’ knowledge about recycling and provides insights into recycling best practices. CLICK HERE to take the quiz.

IBWA’s #PutItInTheBin campaign is another great resource for educational tools that promote pro-recycling images and messaging. IBWA and its partner organizations share the #PutItInTheBin posts (available at because they recognize the need to increase recycling rates across the country.

“We encourage everyone to share posts from our #PutItInTheBin campaign, as it is an excellent educational resource for recycling information,” says Culora. “Our series of ‘Can You Recycle This?’ posts, which provide examples of products that can and can’t be recycled, is one of the many campaign initiatives that would greatly benefit consumers.”

In addition to partnering with KAB, IBWA is active in helping to improve curbside recycling bin access through its involvement with The Recycling Partnership, a national recycling nonprofit organization comprised of industries and municipalities. Together, our goal is to make a measurable impact on recycling in the United States.

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Media Contact: 
Jill Culora 

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.