Recycling Coalition to improve the circularity of PET packaging

WASHINGTON DC – The Recycling Partnership is pleased to announce the launch of its PET Recycling Coalition, an initiative built on industry knowledge and expertise to improve the circularity of PET (#1 plastic). His work will focus on four key opportunities to increase recycling of this valuable material:

  • Increase the capture of PET bottles
  • Expand acceptance of PET trays, cups and shells in community recycling collection programs
  • Unlock new recycled PET (rPET) supplies for packaging manufacturers
  • Reinforcement of recycling channels for pigmented and opaque PET

PET plastic is in high demand for use in textiles such as clothing and carpets (where it is known as polyester) and is the most common type of plastic used in liquid bottles and packaging food today. While eliminating unnecessary use is an important part of circularity, increasing PET recycling is another critical step to advancing circularity. This, along with corporate commitments and recycled content mandates in proposed US legislation, is driving demand for recycled PET to skyrocket, but supply is currently limited. Most Americans with access to recycling are able to recycle PET bottles; however, only 54% can recycle other types of PET packaging such as plastic egg cartons and fruit containers. Additionally, the recycling rate for PET bottles was only 26.6% in 20201. While most PET never makes it to the recycling bin due to insufficient access and participation , up to 17% of recovered bottles are lost in material recovery facilities (MRF). ) due to sorting issues. By supporting the solutions identified by the PET Recycling Coalition, there is a great opportunity to increase recovery and reduce plastic waste and help move towards packaging circularity goals.

The PET Recycling Coalition will provide grants to recycling facilities for sorting equipment and related capital needs. These upgrades will improve PET bottle capture, provide more rPET for reuse in bottles and thermoforms, increase acceptance of non-bottle rigid items in community recycling programs, and strengthen PET recycling opportunities. pigmented and opaque. Through grants, technical assistance and knowledge sharing, the Coalition envisions a thriving PET recycling system that captures far more material, enabling more circular PET packaging with increased amounts of recycled content.

“The Recycling Partnership is dedicated to building a stronger American recycling system, including materials-focused efforts like the PET Recycling Coalition. The success of these material-specific coalitions shows us that when we take a systems approach, we are able to not only lift this targeted material, but all other recyclables into the trash as well,” said Keefe Harrison, CEO of The Recycling Partnership. “We encourage all companies that use PET to join this coalition and be part of the solution.”

The PET Recycling Coalition is part of the Recycling Partnership’s Path to circularity Initiative and aims to advance the circularity of all packaging. The Coalition is supported and open to members representing all segments of the material value chain, including founding members of the Steering Committee Eastman, Indorama Ventures, Procter & Gambleand Walmart Foundation.

“We are excited to partner with value chain leaders to catalyze change that will integrate all forms of PET, not just clear bottles, into our recycling stream,” said Scott Ballard, Eastman Division President. Plastics. “Together we can create a circular economy, leave fossil foods in the ground and do it with a lower carbon footprint.”

“Recycled PET is an extremely useful material when used and reused responsibly,” said Mark Agerton, Group Scientist of Procter & Gamble’s Packaging R&D Team. “This PET Coalition is a partnership to help provide the critical funding and innovations needed to increase recycling rates and drive true circularity of unwanted plastics.”

Other founding members include The Coca-Cola Company, Danone, The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation and Niagara Bottling. The Coalition has set an initial fundraising goal of $25 million over five years and is seeking additional support.

The PET Recycling Coalition is aided by an advisory committee made up of industry leaders, including the American Beverage Association, Association of Plastic Recyclers, Closed Loop Partners, Foodservice Packaging Institute, National Association for PET Container Resources and the RRS. In addition to serving on the Advisory Board, RRS will serve as the Coalition’s technical partner and inform the Coalition’s strategy by supporting research.

Companies interested in improving PET recycling in the United States should consider becoming a member of the Coalition and actively participating in improving solutions. To learn more about the PET Recycling Coalition, its members, and how to get involved in supporting its goals, visit

For MRFs and PET collectors interested in applying for a grant, the application is available on the PET Recycling Coalition website.


About the Recycling Partnership

At The Recycling Partnership, we strive for circularity. We mobilize people, data and solutions across the value chain to unlock the environmental and economic benefits of recycling and a circular economy. We work on the ground with thousands of communities to transform underperforming recycling programs; we partner with companies to achieve packaging circularity, increase access to recycled materials and meet sustainability commitments; and we work with the government to develop policy solutions to address the systemic needs of our residential recycling system and advance a circular economy. We encourage public-private partnerships and drive positive change at every step of the recycling and circularity process. Since 2014, we’ve diverted 500 million pounds of new recyclables from landfills, saved 968 million gallons of water, avoided more than 500,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases, and resulted in significant reductions in targeted contamination rates. Learn more about