When I first saw the chart above from the Container Recycling Institute I thought it was very depressing. While our recycling rate for PET beverage bottles (this includes most bottled water and soda bottles) was going up, the number of bottles thrown into landfills was going up at a faster rate. Then I read this article last week from Packaging Digest and it provides some hope. Scientists at University College Dublin in Ireland have discovered a plastic eating bug that can convert low grade PET bottles into a more valuable and biodegradable plastic called PHA. What this will do is make the PET bottles much more valuable to the recycler and should lead to more economic incentives to recycle these bottles. We are probably years away from any commercial application but it is a positive development nonetheless. We are landfilling over 100 billion (yes, that is billion) beverage cans and bottles every year, this gives us hope that one day we can use these PET bottles as the raw material for a biodegradable bottle.
New Hope for Plastic Recycling
This entry was posted on September 30, 2008.