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Rigid polypropylene containers now Considered “Widely Recycled”

July 28, 2022|BY: Rob Helmke

Rigid polypropylene container
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Plastic Ingenuity is proud to be current funding partners with the Recycling Partnership’s Polypropylene Recycling Coalition. This group’s primary focus is to unlock the environmental and economic benefits of residential recycling and a circular economy, an effort Plastic Ingenuity strongly supports.

In two short years, the Coalition has impacted the industry with some exciting and productive initiatives that significantly influence the recycling stream. Most recently, the upgrade to the How2Recycle program from “Check Locally” to “Widely Recycled”. Today, polypropylene (PP) rigid containers are considered “Widely Recycled” in the U.S.

To achieve this advancement, the Coalition and How2Recycle teams worked closely over the course of many months. Updated inputs were evaluated for access and end markets criteria that originally led to PP being downgraded to “Check Locally” in January 2020. In addition to this encouraging announcement, the Coalition is continuing to build on its previous successes, which include:

  • 24 grants totaling $6.7 million, with four more grants to come
  • Improving curbside access to PP affecting approximately 8% of households, 20 million people
  • Increasing PP recovery by an estimated 25 million pounds annually

To facilitate the transition from “Check Locally” to “Widely Recycled”, the teams leveraged the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s 2020/2021 Centralized Study on Availability of Recycling to establish a baseline, the National Recycling Database to evaluate current U.S. access rate, and finally the
Circular Packaging Assessment tool to confirm the growth and strength of domestic end markets for PP. After further review, the data suggested a potential upgrade to the PP status.

The Coalition is celebrating this significant announcement, while recognizing that the work to support PP recycling must go further, including:

  • Increase curbside access to PP recycling
  • Support sortation upgrades
  • Ensure PP domestic end market growth

Plastic Ingenuity is thrilled with this rapid progress, and we can’t wait to see what’s next!

For more information please download our 2021 Thermoform Circularity Report, Contact Us, or reach out to our Sustainability Champion, Zach Muscato.