Why Recycling PET Bottles Can Make a Huge Difference

The topic of PET recycling has been turning up in the news a lot lately. We are not sure why, but we do know that recycling this particular type of plastic is fairly easy under the right conditions. We recycle it here at Seraphim Plastics, and we’ve been doing so for years. We can tell you that recycling PET bottles can make an enormous difference in reducing the waste stream.

We recycle PET bottles in seven states:

  • Arkansas
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Ohio
  • Tennessee.

If you operate in any one of these states, we will come to you to pick up your clean and baled PET bottles. We will even bear all the expenses. While you think on that, let us talk about why recycling PET makes such a significant difference.

Billions of Bottles

Most of us are familiar with PET plastic in the form of beverage bottles. PET bottles hold water, soft drinks, energy drinks, etc. Amazingly, U.S. beverage manufacturers alone are responsible for producing some 100 billion bottles every year.

If you think that is impressive, consider Coca-Cola’s global operations. They produced 105 billion PET plastic bottles in 2021, which makes up about 30% of the company’s total carbon footprint. That is a lot of bottles.

So many plastic beverage bottles wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if the vast majority of them were recycled. But that’s not the case. Here in the U.S., only about 26% of our PET bottles get recycled. The rest are incinerated or buried in landfills.

How PET Is Recycled

What makes PET waste so tragic is the fact that the material is so easily recycled. In fact, PET is the most recycled plastic in the world. The fact that we recycle so little of it says a lot more about our total recycling efforts than just what we do with this particular material.

At any rate, PET plastic bottles are easy to recycle if they are kept separate from other plastics and sent to recycling uncontaminated. A full bale of bottles can go right from truck to shredder. Shredding reduces the bottles to small chips and flakes that are packaged and sold to manufacturers.

Those manufacturers melt the recycled material down and use it to make new products. Recycled PET bottles can be turned into fabrics, footwear, eyewear frames, carpets, and even new bottles.

Pledging to Do Better

Companies all around the world are pledging to do better to reduce their emissions and carbon footprints. The U.S. beverage industry has promised to use even more recycled PET to make their bottles. But for them to make a significant dent in the waste stream problem, they need more recycled material. That is where companies like yours come in.

Bottle makers are using all the recycled PET they can get their hands on. They would use more if they could get it. You can contribute by handing off your baled PET bottles to us. It costs you nothing but the time it takes to collect and bail them.

The U.S. can do better at recycling PET plastic. Our model of industrial plastic recycling proves as much. So what we need is a way to get more companies to get serious about PET recycling. Then we also need to find a way to apply the industrial model to residential recycling. Perhaps a nationwide bottle redemption bill would be a good thing.

Recycling PET plastic bottles can make a huge difference in reducing our collective waste stream. The more bottles we recycle, the more bottle makers will use the recycled material. That is a recipe for success.