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Starting a PET Recycling Program

More consumers are requesting products packaged in PET plastic because PET containers are lightweight, shatterproof and resealable. More PET plastic bottles on the shelf or in vending machines means more bottles to recycle. Recycled PET plastic bottles are not only kept from landfills, but are made into exciting, everyday products.

This overview serves as a general guide to setting up PET recycling programs outside of the conventional curbside or drop-off recycling programs. For more details, please contact NAPCOR.

Essential Elements of a Successful Program

A successful PET recycling program starts with five essential elements:

  • A capable and enthusiastic program coordinator
  • A secure market for the PET recyclables
  • A simple and reliable collection system
  • An effective employee education and public awareness program
  • A qualified, reliable, full-service outside reclamation company (a recycler or waste hauler)

PET Recycling in Seven Steps

The following important steps will help to ensure an efficient and effective PET collection program:

  1. Appoint a program coordinator.
    Appoint an individual to implement and oversee the program. The program coordinator should also recruit assistance as needed.
  2. Conduct a PET plastic bottles assessment.
    This assessment should include information on how many PET bottles are sold on the premises, what other materials are currently recycled by your organization, and where most of the PET bottles are consumed and thrown away.
  3. Determine who will collect and market the recyclables.
    Numerous factors may affect your choice, including your ability to deliver the recyclables to market yourself and any opportunities for cooperative programs with neighboring businesses. You should also consider negotiating with a local recycling company or waste hauler to pick-up. purchase and market your recyclables.
  4. Establish the on-site collection system.
    Most on-site collection systems include individual collection bins and transportation to a central storage location on your premises. You should consider the number, size and location of these bins as well as any additional servicing necessary, which might include emptying the bins, using bin liners, sorting trash from the bin, and preparing the bottles for marketing. You should also determine who will collect and transport the bottles and where they will be stored to accumulate before being sent to market.
  5. Educate and train the staff.
    Your recycling team must have a good understanding of the program's importance and operational methods as well as each individual task related to the process. Your staff also should be able to educate consumers on appropriate recycling methods.
  6. Publicize the program through consumer and employee education.
    Teach those on your premises how to recycle PET plastic bottles properly so that they can spread the word. Remind them to recycle their bottles and share the success of their recycling efforts. Planning events such as a PET plastic fashion show can help to highlight the importance of recycling.
  7. Monitor and evaluate the program.
    Stay in close contact with your collection staff and recyclables buyers. Respond quickly to the "bugs" in your system. Evaluate the collection system often to ensure its effectiveness.

PET Recycling Program Checklist:

Before you initiate your plans for a PET recycling program, make sure you have:

  • A capable program coordinator.
  • A secure market for recyclables.
  • A reliable collection system.
  • A detailed assessment of PET plastic bottles usage/disposal.
  • A well-planned system for employee education.
  • A plan for publicity and consumer education.
  • A qualified full-service reclamation company.
  • A clear process for monitoring and evaluation
News & Events
December 5, 2016
Link to 2-minute "Your Bottle Means Jobs" Video
December 5, 2016
New Video Highlights Job Creation Through Plastic Bottle Recycling (link to full press release)
November 2016
Going Beyond Collection: NAPCOR looks at PET thermoform recycling opportunities and challenges in November issue of "Plastics Recycling Update"
> More News
A guide to setting up PET recycling programs outside of the conventional curbside and drop-off programs.
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