Increasing Engagement in the HDPE Recycling Value Chain in the United States

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Global production of plastics has increased dramatically in the past 70 years, from 1.9 million tons in 1950 up to 330 million tons in 2013. The United States, the world’s second largest producer of waste, generated 32 million tons of post-consumer plastic waste in 2012, and only 8.8 percent of it was recovered. The rest was discarded in landfills and in smaller portions along roads, beaches, and in waterways. The value of just one type of plastic packaging—high density polyethylene (HDPE)—wasted in the United States is estimated to be $2.85 billion (2010). Despite generally high demand for recycled HDPE content (e.g., from consumer packaged goods manufacturers), there are disconnects between many recyclers, product manufacturers, and other actors that result in suboptimal design for recyclability and insufficient supply of quality material for recycling. Guided by this dynamic, the research has two objectives: (1) identify opportunities to increase engagement in the value chain for recycling rigid HDPE and (2) serve as a reference guide on the value chain covering key market dynamics, challenges, and influential organizations in each segment.





Jones, Kara (2015). Increasing Engagement in the HDPE Recycling Value Chain in the United States. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

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