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[GreenYes] CRI news release: PET wasting up by 136 thousand tons

For Immediate Release Contact: Pat Franklin (703)
December 8, 2006 Jenny
Gitlitz (413) 684-4746

Plastic bottle recycling fails to keep up with increasing sales:
Wasting up by 136 thousand tons

Washington, DC (December 8, 2006) ? The Container Recycling Institute (CRI),
a non-profit environmental group that studies container sales and recycling
trends, notes that the recent increase in the recycling rate for PET plastic
bottles pale in comparison to the increase in trashed plastic bottles.

According toCRI, 2005 data relesased recently by the Sonoma, California
based National Association of Plastic Container Resources (NAPCOR) showed
that the volume of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles recycled
in 2005 rose to 1,170 million lbs and the recycling rate increased 1.4
percentage points, from 21.6% to 23.1%. --167 million pounds more than were
recycled in 2004.

³This slight increase is certainly better than a decline,² said CRI
executive director Pat Franklin, ³but it was not the increase needed to
reverse the wasting trend. At 23.1% the rate is far below the 39.7%
recycling rate the industry achieved back in 1995. Franklin also noted that
the volume of PET used to make new food and beverage containers decreased
last year. ³With the Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo committing to using 10%
recycled content in their PET bottles, it¹s difficult to understand this
decline,² she added.

CRI research director Jenny Gitlitz said, ³While PET bottle recycling rose
by 167 million lbs last year, wasting increased by 271million lbs (or 136
thousand tons) during the same period. We¹re now trashing almost 2 million
tons of PET annually: up from 588 thousand tons wasted a decade ago. Wasting
this much PET is bad for the environment; it¹s a tremendous and unnecessary
waste of a petroleum product,² she added. According to Gitlitz, ³About 18
million barrels of crude oil equivalent went down the drain last year when
these 2 million tons of PET bottles were landfilled instead of recycled.²

Franklin attributed the slow rate of recycling increase to the inability of
current recycling programs to keep up with the rapid pace of increasing
beverage sales.

³Bottled water sales have skyrocketed for over 5 years, from 3.3 billion in
1997 to an estimated 26 billion in 2005, and show no signs of slowing,² she
said. ³Sales of other beverages packaged in PET?sports drinks, teas, and
juices?are increasing, too. Total PET bottle sales have risen from 2 million
pounds in 1995 to 5 million pounds in 2005.²

³But it¹s not just the number of additional beverages sold,² Franklin
explained, ³it¹s the location: vending machines in schools and other public
spaces, convenience stores, etc. These containers purchased for consumption
away from home cannot be captured by residential curbside recycling

Franklin added that the industry has historically opposed container deposit
laws, or ³bottle bills,² which provide powerful consumer incentives to
recycle. In the eleven states that have bottle bills, PET containers that
have a nickel or dime refund value are recycled at rates that are 3 to 4
times the rate in the 39 non-bottle bill states.

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