Recycling Statistics

BWAY manufactures rigid industrial containers made of high-density polyethylene, polypropylene and steel. Many of our products contain a portion of post-industrial and post-consumer materials. The following information provides recycling statistics about these materials:

Plastic Containers

According to the American Chemistry Council, more than 20,000 communities sponsor curbside or drop-off plastic recycling programs. This represents 63 percent of all communities in the United States. Plastic recycling collection programs are available to more than 148 million people across the country. Processing facilities for post-consumer plastics recycling increased 81 percent from 1990 to 1999. Today, more than 1,790 companies handle and reclaim post-consumer plastics.

In 2007, non-bottle rigid plastics were collected for recycling in the United States at a rate of approximately 325 million pounds. Of that, high-density polyethylene represented 44 percent, and polypropylene marked 38 percent of recycling collection. Recycled high-density polyethylene is used to make the ECO-PAILTM by BWAY as well as plastic lumber, furniture, lawn and garden products, buckets, crates, office products and automobile parts. Recycled polypropylene is used to make our hybrid paint cans as well as automotive battery cases and cables, brooms, brushes, ice scrapers, oil funnels, bicycle racks, garden rakes, storage bins, paint cans and shipping pallets.

Steel Containers

Steel is the most recycled material in North America, according to the Steel Recycling Institute. In 2007, 65 percent of all steel containers were recycled. Steel is the only material that always has a recycled content. Because steel has no “memory,” it can be used for one application and later be recycled for another application.

Scrap is the steel industry’s largest source of raw material because it is more cost-effective to recycle old steel than to produce new steel. As a result, steel recycling collection programs are mature. The steel recycling infrastructure is well-established with over 2,000 scrap processors and more than 70 end markets. Some percentage of recycled steel is used to make tin cans, steel pails and all other steel products from automobiles to skyscrapers.

Aerosol Containers

The Consumer Aerosol Products Council has found that steel aerosol cans have post-consumer recycled content of 25 percent on average. More than 5,300 municipal locations across the country accept empty aerosol cans in curbside recycling programs and at drop-off locations. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that aerosol cans be recycled once they are empty.

The Consumer Specialty Products Association estimates that approximately 90 percent of all aerosol cans are constructed of steel. In the United States, more than 3 billion steel aerosol cans are manufactured each year. If all these containers were recycled, there would be enough steel to manufacture 400,000 automobiles.

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