Americans threw away a record number of bottles and cans according to new numbers released by the Container Recycling Institute (CRI) in Washington, DC.
Pat Franklin, executive director of the CRI says the decline is due to two factors: lack of opportunities and lack of incentives to recycle. "In just one year, [Americans] have dumped a staggering 129 billion beverage containers in trash cans instead of recycling bins," she says. This number is 60 per cent higher than what was dumped in 1990.
There’s a heavy environmental price tag on all that waste, says Ms. Franklin. The upstream environmental impacts include energy consumption equivalent to 36 million barrels of crude oil per year. The downstream impacts include an estimated 125 billion glass, aluminum and plastic containers going to landfills and incinerators.
Ms. Franklin adds the problem is not a lack of markets for the materials, but a lack of supply. "The containers are not getting from the consumer to the recycling businesses," she explains. Dozens of companies rely on post-consumer bottles and cans to make new containers or other products, she says, but they can’t get the containers. "Some of those companies may go out of business if they can’t get an adequate supply of scrap materials."
The CRI is looking for partners such as consumers, businesses, environmental organizations and public officials, who will work with the institute to reverse the trend.
For further information, contact Pat Franklin at 703-276-9800