New Reports Show Increased Bottled Water Recycling and Smaller Environmental Footprint

International Bottled Water Association | IMMEDIATE RELEASE | February 20, 2013

New Reports Show Increased Bottled Water Recycling and Smaller Environmental Footprint

Recycling rate for bottled water reaches nearly 39 percent, while amount of PET plastic used in bottled water containers continues to drop.

IBWANews 01 ALEXANDRIA, VA – The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) today announced that new data from the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) and the Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC) show the bottled water industry continuing to reduce its environmental footprint through significant increases in recycling and the use of less plastic in single-serve PET bottled water containers.

According to NAPCOR, now at almost 39 percent, the recycling rate for single-serve PET plastic bottled water containers has more than doubled in the last seven years.  And, BMC found that over the last 11 years the average weight of a 16.9 ounce (half-liter) single-serve PET plastic bottled water container has dropped by almost 47.8 percent, to 9.9 grams.

According to a January 2013 internal NAPCOR study, the national recycling rate for PET plastic bottled water containers jumped dramatically in 2011 to 38.6 percent, representing an increase of nearly 20 percent over the previous year’s rate of 32.25 percent.  In its study, NAPCOR states that in 2011 (the most recent available data) there were approximately 1.3 billion pounds of PET plastic water bottle containers available for recycling in the United States, of which 500 million pounds was reclaimed for recycling.  And, PET plastic bottled water containers are the most frequently recycled PET beverage container in curbside recycling programs.

Additionally, data released by BMC on January 31, 2013 shows that between 2000 and 2011, the average weight of a 16.9-ounce (half-liter) PET plastic bottled water container has declined 47.8 percent. This has resulted in a savings of 3.3 billion pounds of PET resin since 2000.

The significant increase in the recycling rate of PET plastic bottled water containers, coupled with the continuing decrease in container weight, underscores the consistent drive of the bottled water industry to improve recycling programs and reduce its overall environmental footprint.

“The bottled water industry utilizes a variety of measures to reduce our environmental footprint,” said Chris Hogan, IBWA’s vice president of communications.  “All bottled water containers are 100 percent recyclable.  And, when you do the math, it turns out that of all the plastics produced in the U.S., PET plastic bottled water packaging makes up only 0.92 percent; less than one percent.  Moreover, plastic bottled water containers make up only one-third of one percent of the U.S. waste stream, according to the EPA.”

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Media Contact:
Chris Hogan
[email protected]
703.647.4609

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.

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