Mexico was the largest recycler of PET plastic containers in the Americas last year, according to the non-governmental organization Ecoce.
Recycled plastic amounted to 425,000 tonnes in 2016, up 50% from the previous year, said the organization, an umbrella group of food and beverage firms.
The amount represents 57% of the plastic consumed by the domestic market, a similar percentage to that reported during the same period by the European Union.
Recycling plants established in Mexico processed a little over 56% of the plastic, while the remaining 44% was exported to other countries, mainly China and the United States, for processing.
The Mexican recycling industry represents investments of over US $340 million, Ecoce said in a press release, with an installed processing capacity of 312,000 tonnes per year. It employs close to 2,400 people directly and 35,000 indirectly.
The environmental advocacy organization added that in recent years new PET recycling plants have been built with investments by beverage companies, and today represent just over 53% of the country’s total.
Ecoce’s success with PET containers has encouraged it to gather waste packaging made from other materials such as high and low-density polyethylene and polypropylene, among others.
For 2017, Ecoce intends to continue promoting the culture of recycling with a media campaign that focuses on the growth seen in recycling during the last 15 years, encouraging recycling among children and teenagers.
PET, which stands for polyethylene terephthalate, is a thermoplastic polymer resin and is used making clothing and food and beverage containers.