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Recycling Remains a Strong Industry in the Carolinas

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Though evolving, the recycling industry is alive and well in the Carolinas and across the U.S. Partners like Sonoco, one of the largest diversified global packaging companies, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) continue to work together to improve recycling access for businesses and residents in both states, while also working jointly on improving quality and lowering contamination in order to help support the continued viability of residential recycling programs.

Today, Sonoco, DHEC and DEQ join other companies, agencies and organizations in recognizing America Recycles Day. A Keep America Beautiful initiative, America Recycles Day is a nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. The national recycling rate continues to increase over the past 30 years, with the current rate at 34%. At Sonoco’s headquarters in Hartsville, S.C., associates are honoring the day by recycling items like plastic bottle tops, electronics and even Starbucks cold coffee glasses!

“Recycling is a large industry with a significant economic impact that includes increased employment, a stronger tax base, and it supplies many other businesses with raw materials,” said Mike Pope, president and general manager of Sonoco Recycling.

With the growth of ecommerce and the increase in the shipping of products because of it, more companies are entering the containerboard and box making businesses in the U.S, which will continue to drive consumption of paper-based materials which can be recycled and reused. And while plastics have been the subject of negative national and global attention as of late, plastic remains one of the best packaging options to prevent food waste, a serious international issue, and to ensure people have access to high quality, fresh foods. Sonoco actively collects a range of materials to recycle and in turn to use in the production of its own products. Sonoco is already one of the largest collectors and users of PET plastic water and soda bottles to create packaging for fresh fruits, and is in the process of including PET-based clamshell packages in residential recycling programs to recycle and reuse in the creation of more fresh fruit packaging. 

“Sonoco has been involved in recycling for about 100 years, and the materials we collect are a fundamental part of our business. Market and commodity prices for recycled products like plastics and paper, move just like they do for food and fuel. The fundamental demand for recycled materials has not changed, and while global trade barriers have put supply and demand out of balance in different parts of the world, these will balance out over time,” said Pope. “In the end, recycling is a great business that creates jobs and makes our society a cleaner and better place to live.”

About Sonoco

Founded in 1899, Sonoco (NYSE: SON) is a global provider of a variety of consumer packaging, industrial products, protective packaging, and displays and packaging supply chain services. With annualized net sales of approximately $5 billion, the Company has 21,000 employees working in approximately 300 operations in 33 countries, serving some of the world’s best known brands in some 85 nations. Sonoco is committed to Better Packaging. Better Life., and ranked first in the Packaging sector on Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies 2018 list. For more information, visit