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American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac - Oct. 10, 2007

Plastics recycling industry starving for materials
Chemical & Engineering News

Consumers have unknowingly put the plastics recycling industry in the United States on a starvation diet by failing to recycle sufficient quantities of soft drink bottles and other waste. Thats the conclusion of the cover story scheduled for the Oct. 15 issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS weekly newsmagazine.

In the article, C&EN senior editor Alexander H. Tullo explores the critical role of consumers in efforts to save energy and raw materials by transforming plastic wastes into new products. Tullo notes that barely 25 percent of the billions of pounds of plastic bottles and containers manufactured annually in the United States enter the recycling stream. While major cities like New York and San Francisco have shown that plastics recycling can be done successfully on a large scale, fueled by recycling educational programs and environmental pride, many municipalities are still falling far short of their desired recycling goals.

Financial concerns, technological difficulties, and stiff competition for raw materials by recyclers at home and abroad are among the combined challenges facing the plastics recycling industry, Tullo notes. But the fate of the plastics recycling industry may ultimately rest in the hands of consumers, he writes. Tullos bottom line is a quote from one recycling expert: There is not enough scrap material being collected.

ARTICLE #5 EMBARGOED FOR 9 A.M., EASTERN TIME, Oct. 15, 2007 From Refuse to Reuse

This story will be available on Oct. 15 at


Michael Bernstein
ACS News Service
Phone: 202-872-6042
Fax: 202-872-4370


Contact: Michael Woods
American Chemical Society

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