Recycling Indus try Yearbook
Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.
The manufacture and distribution of plastics is everywhere.
Between 2005 and 2015, the global production of plastics
grew from 230 million tons to 322 million tons. With the
explosive growth in the
manufacture of plastics comes
the need to ensure that these
materials are recycled in an
manner once they reach
the end of their useful lives.
PlasticsEurope reports that
7.7 million tons of plastics
were recycled globally in
2014, including more than 3.5
million tons of post-industrial
and post-consumer plastic
scrap that were recycled in the
United States, according to ISRI estimates. In addition, recycling
of engineered and industrial plastics present tremendous
opportunities that demonstrate plastics recycling today is
“Bigger Than the Bin.”
From an environmental perspective, recycled plastic can
provide enormous benefits over the use of its virgin counter-
parts. For example, plastic lumber made with scrap plastic bags,
and other materials, conserves
trees and eliminates the need to
use hazardous chemicals to treat
wood that will be used outdoors.
According to the U.S. EPA, plastic
recycling results in significant
energy savings (an estimated
50–75 MBtus/ton of material
recycled) compared with
production of new plastics using
Despite the ubiquity of plastics,
plastic recycling is still a young industry because no one really
thought about recycling when plastics were first put into use.
The technology to cost-effectively sort and recycle plastics has
been developed in just the past 25 years.