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Recycling Plastic Can Be Hard To Sort Out

January 21st, 2008

“As more and more communities look at that, more and more (plastic) will be collected and more cities…” will push recycling, he said. “The demand for more material is there, the question is keeping up with that demand.”

There’s more demand for recycled plastic than there is supply? Yes, indeed, Alexander said, consumers need to step it up.

Recycling plastics has become increasingly profitable in the last few years as the price of making virgin plastic has risen, said Rob Krebs, a spokesman for the American Chemistry Council, which represents plastic makers.

“The price of natural gas has shot through the roof; it’s gone up five to seven times, and natural gas is what (60-70 percent of) plastics are made of so all of a sudden recycled plastics look awful attractive,” said Krebs, who named companies that have begun collecting their own used plastic products for another go-round, among them Hewlett Packard and Mohawk Carpets.

The ACC itself has gotten more involved in the “end cycle” of plastics, working with state agencies to help with new laws aimed at collecting plastic grocery bags and even finding common ground with the state of California in a project to provide more “away from home” plastics recycling bins at state parks, said a spokesperson for the ACC.

“No one likes litter,’’ says Krebs.

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