A new report published today by the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), the international trade association representing the plastics recycling industry, finds significant reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions associated with incorporating recycled plastic resin into the manufacturing of new products.

The report — a Life Cycle Inventory Analysis conducted by leading industry research consultants Franklin Associates, a division of ERG — analyzed the energy requirements and environmental impacts of post-consumer recycled plastic resin as compared to virgin plastic resin.

“This study shows a win-win for companies who incorporate recycled plastic resin into their new products. They can improve the environmental sustainability of their products and processes and reduce their energy costs,” said Steve Alexander, president of APR. “It demonstrates the importance and effectiveness of the full recycling chain for plastic goods - a chain that starts with companies manufacturing recyclable products, and ends with consumers buying products made from recycled materials.”

The report examined recycling processes for three of the most common types of plastic material recycled today: polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and polypropylene (PP).

According to the report, using recycled plastic reduced total energy consumption by:

  • 79% for PET
  • 88% for HDPE
  • 88% for PP

Using recycled plastic limited emissions by

  • 67% for PET
  • 71% for HDPE
  • 71% for PP