The recycling rate for polyethylene bags and wraps doubled from 2005 to 2008 to 832 bln lbs, growing 28% since 2005, as per the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This strong growth rate even continued in 2008 when the economy was in a global recession. EPA reported that recycling overall went down on a volume basis by about 2.7% in 2008, but bag and film recycling continued to grow. About 95% of bags used in the United States are plastic as people seem to show a preference for plastic bags.
Recycling waste plastics into plastic lumber has been doing quite well despite a weak economy. “Even though construction is down, we are seeing that plastic lumber is more a preferred material, especially in environments where customers are looking for long life. Contractors, builders and property owners are looking for better value,” said Brian Larsen, president of the Plastic Lumber Trade Association.