The following letter to the editor was submitted to the New York Times on 10/8/15 in response to "The Reign of Recyclng" by John Tierney that appears in the New York Times Magazine on 10/3/15.
To the Editor,
John Tierney’s recent analysis of recycling (The Reign of Recycling published in the New York Times Magazine on October 3) is off track. He takes such a narrow view of the economic impacts of recycling that he loses the proverbial forest for the trees.
Recycled materials fuel a strong and vibrant sector of the U.S. economy. Recycled PET, such as soda and water bottles, is used in new bottles and packaging, fiber for carpets, clothing, and car interiors, and many other useful applications. As we turn these post-consumer bottles into high value products, we create jobs, pay taxes and support significant economic activity —a lot more than is supported by sending our valuable materials to a hole in the ground.
Even with low plastic resin prices, use of recycled PET in the US is at an all-time high. If using recycled feedstocks didn’t make economic sense, why would we see consistent, strong, and increasing demand for recycled PET from some of the largest companies in the world?
Recycling is much more than a feel good activity - it’s an economic engine. The benefits are real, and the thousands of jobs supported by our industry are a testament to that.
National Association for PET Container Resources