Top 10 Things Every Business Should Know About Plastic Recycling In 2024

In the landscape of sustainability, plastic recycling stands at the forefront of environmental discussions, especially for businesses striving to align with green practices.  

Now that we’ve entered 2024, the nuances of plastic recycling have become more critical than ever, underlining the fact that not all plastics are created equal.  

This comprehensive guide delves into the latest recycling trends, technologies, and best practices, offering businesses a roadmap to navigate the complexities of sustainable practices and material selection in their sustainability efforts. 

  1. Understanding Plastic Types and Recyclability

Plastics are categorized into seven major types, each with different recyclability rates and uses. Businesses must understand these differences to fully understand recycling and make decisions on what plastics to use for certain products. For example, PET (Type 1) and HDPE (Type 2) are widely recycled, while others like PVC (Type 3) pose more challenges. 

The seven types of plastics are commonly identified by their resin identification codes, which are numbered 1 through 7 and typically found in a triangle symbol on plastic products. 

  1. PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate): Commonly used in water and soda bottles, as well as packaging, like deli containers and beverage cups. 
  2. HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene): Used for milk jugs, detergent bottles, and some plastic bags. 
  3. PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): Found in plumbing pipes, outdoor furniture, and some toys. 
  4. LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene): Used for plastic bags, six-pack rings, and various containers. 
  5. PP (Polypropylene): Found in yogurt containers, syrup bottles, and prescription bottles. 
  6. PS (Polystyrene): Used for disposable plates, egg cartons, and take-out containers. 
  7. Other: This category includes all other plastics, including polycarbonate, acrylic, polylactic fibers, nylon, and fiberglass. 



  1. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

EPR policies are gaining traction globally, placing more responsibility on producers for the end-of-life impact of their products. Businesses need to be aware of EPR regulations in their regions and consider product design and packaging choices that minimize environmental impact. For example, California’s Senate Bill 54 (SB 54), signed into law in 2022, targets reducing plastic pollution through Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). It mandates producers to cut plastic waste from single-use products and packaging by 25% by 2032. Producers must also ensure that 65% of these materials are recyclable or compostable. The goal is to shift the responsibility for waste management from consumers to manufacturers, promoting sustainability and waste reduction. 

  1. The Importance of Design for Recycling

Design for Recycling (DfR) has become a critical consideration for businesses. By designing products and packaging with post-consumer recycling in mind, companies can significantly increase the recyclability of their products, contributing to a circular economy. 

  1. Consumer Demand for Sustainable Products

Consumer awareness and demand for sustainable products are at an all-time high. Businesses that prioritize recyclable materials, recycled content and overall sustainable practices are likely to see a positive impact on their brand reputation and customer loyalty. 

  1. Global Shifts in Plastic Waste Management

The global landscape of plastic waste management is shifting, with many countries implementing bans on single-use plastics and restrictions on waste imports. These changes are prompting businesses to rethink their packaging materials and waste management practices. 

  1. The Role of Bioplastics

Bioplastics, made from renewable resources, are becoming a popular alternative to traditional plastics. However, businesses should understand the different types of bioplastics, their biodegradability, and how they fit into existing recycling systems. 

  1. Rise of Advanced Recycling Technologies

2024 has seen a surge in advanced recycling technologies, such as chemical recycling, which breaks down plastics to their molecular level, allowing for the recycling of previously non-recyclable plastics. These technologies are revolutionizing the recycling industry by expanding the types of plastics that can be recycled, but bring about questions on their scalability and potential negative environmental impacts. 

  1. Corporate Sustainability Goals

Setting and achieving corporate sustainability goals related to plastic use and recycling is becoming a benchmark for business success. Transparent reporting on progress towards these goals is also becoming a standard expectation from stakeholders. 

  1. Local Recycling Infrastructure and Regulations

Recycling regulations and infrastructure vary widely by location. Businesses must stay informed about local recycling capabilities and regulations to ensure compliance and maximize their recycling efforts. 

  1. Innovations in Packaging

rPlanet Earth® offers premium packaging solutions made from up to 100% recycled post-consumer resin (PCR) content.  

These solutions are ideal for companies aiming to achieve their sustainability objectives in packaging, contributing to a genuine closed-loop system for post-consumer recycled PET products within a circular economy framework. 

Products like our EnviroCup® Cold Drink Cups are made from 100% post-consumer recycled, curbside collected PET material and can be reused. We also have Thermoformed Containers, which are the first-ever rPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate) food packaging product lines made from 100% post-consumer, curbside collected PET plastic. 


As we enter 2024 and beyond, we will continue to highlight, innovate, and establish sustainable practices to plastic recycling. At the heart of this movement is our expansive 300,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility in Vernon, California, which stands as a pillar of innovation and sustainability in the packaging industry.  

This facility, which houses our food-grade, SQF-certified packaging plant and serves as our corporate headquarters, is pioneering a new era in recycling and packaging production. As the first fully integrated plant of its kind, we are setting a precedent for closing the loop in recycling programs, streamlining the process from waste collection to the creation of premium recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) packaging. 

Our closed-loop system begins with the collection of PET bottles and thermoformed products, which are then sorted, ground, washed, and decontaminated. We rebuild the physical properties of PCR rPET flakes to a virgin-like state, producing 100% PCR products that are FDA-compliant and food-grade. This vertical integration not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions but also cuts down on additional transportation costs and the energy-intensive reheating of pellets. Moreover, our finished products are designed for easy recycling through curbside collection programs, ensuring they can re-enter the recycling stream with minimal effort. 

Our unique operation excels in processing mixed bales of post-consumer plastic waste, transforming these materials into high-quality rPET packaging options that boast a significantly lower carbon footprint. This achievement is a testament to our commitment to environmental stewardship and our vision for a zero plastic waste future. By ensuring these resources are recycled properly, we not only contribute to the circular economy but also offer sustainable packaging solutions that meet the rigorous standards of our domestic and global partners. 

Looking ahead, we are dedicated to expanding our footprint across the United States, aiming to establish a network of high-quality, post-consumer rPET packaging production facilities. This expansion is driven by our mission to provide accessible, sustainable packaging solutions nationwide, furthering our commitment to reducing plastic waste and promoting a healthier planet. 

Sustainability is the cornerstone of our operations. From the meticulous recycling of post-consumer content to the careful selection of materials used in our finished products, every aspect of our process is designed with the environment in mind. 

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