Recycling and Recovery
Resource & Environmental Profile Analyses
Operation Clean Sweep (OCS)
Recycling and Recovery:
This includes a broad range of information focusing on plastic benefits, plastics packaging, material comparison studies, lists of recycled products and their manufacturers, and more!
Plastic Recycling Collection: National Reach Study, 2012 Update
This study determines the types of rigid plastics that are collected—curbside or municipal drop-off—in the United States for recycling and documents the percentage of the population that has access to recycle various types of plastics. The current version of this report was updated to include New York City’s recent recycling expansion. » 2011
2012 Plastic Film and Bag Recycling Collection: National Reach Study
This study quantifies the percentage of the U.S. population that has access to programs that collect flexible plastic packaging, such as bags, wraps and other film, for recycling.
2013 Growth Trends and New Drivers for Recycling of Non-Bottle Mixed Rigid Plastics
This report explores major factors that are contributing to the rapid growth in rigid plastics recycling, such as increased demand, public commitments, excess MRF capacity, and improved consumer education. Completed by Resource Recycling, it contains recommendations for communities that are considering adding rigid plastics to their recycling programs, four case studies, and examples of successful community education programs.
2012 National Post-Consumer Plastics Bottle Recycling Report
The 2012 edition of the United States National Post-Consumer Plastics Bottle Recycling Report is the 23rd annual report on plastic bottle recycling. This study is a cooperative effort between the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council and the Association of Post-consumer Plastics Recyclers, the goal of which is to quantify the amount of high density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP) bottles recycled, as well as the rate of recycling. PET statistics are also included in the report. » 2011 | » 2010 | » 2009 | » 2008 | » 2007
2011 Report from Columbia University’s Earth Engineering Center: Energy and Economic Value of Non-recycled Plastics and Municipal Solid Wastes
Conducted by the Earth Engineering Center (EEC) of Columbia University, this study calculates the energy value of non-recycled plastics that are currently landfilled in the United States using currently available technologies. The study also estimates the energy of diverting non-recycled plastics and all municipal solid waste produced in the United States into modern waste-to-energy facilities. Data is provided for all fifty states.
Latest Report Shows "Dramatic Increase" in Curbside Recycling of Plastic Bags and Film in Los Angeles
This study commissioned by Los Angeles County Public Works reveals a 39 percent growth in the recycling of plastic bags and film in Los Angeles County between 2007 and 2009.
2011 National Post-Consumer Recycled Plastic Bag and Film Report
The 2011 National Post-Consumer Recycled Plastic Bag and Film Report is the seventh annual U.S. report on pounds of plastic bags and film recovered for recycling. The report includes data gathered from both domestic and export post-consumer plastic film markets. Research for this report was conducted by Moore Recycling Associates, Inc. of Sonoma, CA for the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council. » 2010 | » 2009 | » 2008 | » 2007 | » 2006 | » 2005
2011 National Report on Post-Consumer Non-Bottle Rigid Plastic Recycling
The 2011 National Postconsumer Recycling Report on Non-Bottle Rigid Plastics is the fifth annual report on U.S. pounds of postconsumer non-bottle rigid plastics—packaging and non-packaging—recovered for recycling. Research for this report was conducted by Moore Recycling Associates Inc. of Sonoma, California, for the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council. » 2010 | » 2009 | » 2008 | » 2007
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These publications contain more detailed environmental information, focusing on energy use, recycling, waste impact, source reduction, etc.
2011 Study: Polystyrene Foam Cups and Plates Use Less Energy, Water Than Paper or Corn-based Alternatives
The primary intended use of the 2011 study by Franklin Associates is to provide the Plastics Foodservice Packaging Group (PFPG) with more complete information about the environmental burdens and greenhouse gas impacts from the life cycle of disposable foodservice products.
Innovations for Greenhouse Gas Reductions: A Life Cycle Quantification of Carbon Abatement Solutions Enabled by the Chemical Industry
Conducted by global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, this study used a life cycle carbon dioxide-equivilent (CO2e) emissions analysis to assess the global chemical industry’s greenhouse gas emissions through the life cycle of chemical products and the applications they enable. Analyses were performed for over 100 individual product applications. The study confirms a key role for the chemical industry in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and highlights the important role of plastic products, such as building insulation, packaging, auto parts, and pipe. » full report | » executive summary
Brochure: Take a Closer Look at Today's Polystyrene Packaging—Safe, Affordable and Environmentally Responsible
With today’s growing concerns about the environment and climate change, polystyrene packaging solutions are becoming more recognized as environmentally-preferable for a host of reasons including their lightweight properties. Polystyrene packaging makes sense for business, consumers, and our planet.
Plastics: An Energy Efficient Choice
Compares the energy used in producing plastic packaging and common non-plastic alternatives.
A Study of Packaging Efficiency as it Relates to Waste Prevention
This study from the ULS Report provides clear and compelling examples of the value of source reduction as a strategy for developing and evaluating sustainable packaging.
Understanding Plastic Film
A white paper that provides an understanding of what film is, its wide range of applications and contributions to resource conservation.
Plastics' Energy and Greenhouse Gas Savings Using Housewrap
This study is an analysis of the energy savings and related reduction in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the use of an exterior barrier to airflow applied to single family houses.
Plastics' Energy and Greenhouse Gas Savings Using Refrigerator and Freezer Insulation
This document is a case study that examines the greenhouse gas emissions implications of using plastic foam insulation in refrigerators and freezers.
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Resource & Environmental Profile Analyses:
Reports that compare the energy use, environmental emissions and waste impact of plastic and alternative materials.
Plastics vs. Steel: Is Automotive Light Weighting A No-Brainer?
The life cycle performance of polymers in comparison to commonly used steel alloys was assessed in automotive applications. The cradle-to-grave LCA considers a total service life of 150,000 miles for two case studies: A 46 percent lighter plastic bolster on the 2010 Ford Taurus that replaced the 2008 plastic and steel bolster and, a 51 percent lighter plastic running board for the Chevrolet Trailblazer/GMC that replaced the previous steel running board. The life cycle stages included in these critically reviewed and ISO compliant LCA studies address the production of upstream materials and energy, product manufacturing, use, and the end-of-life treatment for all materials used throughout the life cycle.
Life Cycle Inventory of Plastic Fabrication Processes: Injection Molding and Thermoforming
The intent of the study was to develop unit process data sets for two rigid plastic product fabrication methods using primary data from plastic converters. The data quality goal for this study was to use data that most accurately represents current U.S. rigid plastic fabrication processes.
Cradle-to-Gate Life Cycle Inventory of Nine Plastics Resins and Four Polyurethane Precursors
This newly revised report, “Cradle-to-Gate Life Cycle Inventory of Nine Plastics Resins and Four Polyurethane Precursors (2011),” provides current data that quantify the total energy requirements, energy sources, atmospheric pollutants, waterborne pollutants, and solid waste resulting from the production of commonly used plastic materials in North America. The plastic resins studied are: High-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), general-purpose polystyrene (GPPS), high-impact polystyrene (HIPS), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS). The four polyurethane precursors include flexible foam polyurethane (PU) polyether polyols, rigid foam PU polyether polyols, methylene diphenylene diisocyanate (MDI), and toluene diisocyanate (TDI). » report only | » appendices only
Life Cycle Inventory of 100% Post-consumer HDPE and PET Recycled Resin from Post-consumer Containers and Packaging
Sponsored by ACC, APR, NAPCOR and PETRA, this 2011 study by Franklin Associates uses life cycle inventory (LCI) methodology to quantify the energy requirements, solid wastes, and atmospheric and waterborne emissions for the processes required to collect post-consumer PET and HDPE packaging, sort and separate the material, and reprocess it into clean recycled resin.
Plastic Packaging Life Cycle Inventory Studies for Coffee, Tuna and Milk Containers
Plastic packaging is often lighter than packaging made from alternative materials. These three 2008 reports by Franklin Associates quantify the environmental benefits of lighter, or source-reduced, packaging throughout the life cycle of each product in terms of reduced energy use, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and less waste. » coffee study | » tuna study | » milk study
Life Cycle Inventory of Polystyrene Foam, Bleached Paperboard, and Corrugated Paperboard Foodservice Products
This peer-reviewed 2006 study from Franklin Associates Ltd. provides an extensive and comparative look at the energy and environmental performance of foodservice packaging products made with polystyrene foam, bleached paperboard or corrugated paperboard.
Resource and Environmental Profile Analysis of Polyethylene and Unbleached Paper Grocery Sacks
The following conclusions were reached regarding the energy and environmental impacts for 10,000 equivalent uses of polyethylene (PE) and paper sacks.
Resource and Environmental Profile Analysis of Polyethylene Milk Bottles and Polyethylene-coated Paperboard Milk Cartons
The purpose of this study is to quantify the energy requirements and environmental emissions of both 128-ounce and 64-ounce high-density polyethylene (HDPE) milk bottles and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) paperboard milk cartons.
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Operation Clean Sweep (OCS):
The Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council and the Society of the Plastics Industryy are working together on a revitalized OCS program to strengthen efforts to educate and change behavior in the plastics industry with a goal of zero pellet loss.
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Here, the recycling coordinator and industry employee will most likely find valuable information on solid waste management and tools to promote these programs to communities.
Perfecting the Plastics Drop-off
A practical guide for designing and reducing contamination in a drop-off program.
Sorting Plastic Bottles for Recycling
This Guide is intended for existing MRF operators, potential new MRF owners and design engineers. Information presented in this Guide can be used to improve the efficiency of sorting and recovering plastic containers collected from the residential and commercial recyclables streams.
MRF Model User's Guide
You may wish to go a step further in analyzing the operations at your MRF by taking advantage of the Environment and Plastics Industry Council (EPIC) MRF Model, which was used as an analytical tool during preparation of the Guide. The EPIC MRF Model is a MS-Excel 5.0 spreadsheet tool that helps you systematically analyze certain operating and cost parameters at your MRF.
Plastics-to-Oil: Conversion Technology—A Complement to Plastic Recycling
The benefits presented by plastic to fuel (PTF) technologies are two-fold: transforming nonrecycled plastic into a valuable commodity, and creating a reliable source for alternative energy from an abundant, no-cost feedstock.
Demingling the Mix: An Assessment of Commercially Available Automated Sorting Technology
This study is a census of commercially available sorting technology for plastic containers and plastic flake, pellets and other plastic fractions. The evaluation of commercially available equipment was conducted from November 2009 through February 2010.
Plastic Film Recovery Guide
A complete guide for businesses, governments, and recyclers on how to effectively recover plastic film from the waste stream.
Plastics Recycling Cost Optimization
The report contains detailed discussions and results from implementation and field testing of eleven cost optimization strategies to see if the recommended strategies could actually reduce costs, create jobs and lead to the development of sustainable recycling markets.
Stretch Wrap Recycling
A guide that takes recyclers step-by-step through the design and implementation of a stretch wrap recovery program.