APR: Use of Recycled Plastic Linked to Reduced Energy Consumption

The report examined recycling processes for three of the most common types of plastic material recycled today: polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP)

A new report published today by the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR, Washington, D.C.) finds significant reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions associated with incorporating recycled plastic resin into the manufacturing of new products.

The report, a Life Cycle Inventory Analysis conducted by leading industry research consultants Franklin Associates, a division of ERG, analyzed the energy requirements and environmental impacts of postconsumer recycled plastic resin as compared to virgin plastic resin.  

“This study shows a win-win for companies who incorporate recycled plastic resin into their new products. They can improve the environmental sustainability of their products and processes and reduce their energy costs,” says Steve Alexander, president of APR. “It demonstrates the importance and effectiveness of the full recycling chain for plastic goods - a chain that starts with companies manufacturing recyclable products, and ends with consumers buying products made from recycled materials.”    

The report examined recycling processes for three of the most common types of plastic material recycled today: polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP). According to the report, using recycled plastic reduced total energy consumption by:

  • 79% for PET
  • 88% for HDPE
  • 8% for PP 

At the same time, using recycled plastic limited emissions by:

  • 67% for PET
  • 71% for HDPE
  • 71% for PP 

“This report clearly demonstrates the benefits of a renewed commitment to plastic recycling,” stated Jamie Camara, CEO of PetStar and chair of The APR Board of Directors. “It is critical that North America continues to invest in our recycling infrastructure so that we can expand the material that is collected, sorted, and processed for second use. Recycling and using recycled materials are good for manufacturers, consumers and the planet.”