Helping ensure the long-term viability of polypropylene plastic as a recycled material will take all of us. Learn how we can make a difference together.

Polypropylene Recycling Coalition

Since its launch in July 2020, the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition has been focused on increasing access to curbside recycling for polypropylene (PP), ensuring more recycling facilities can sort polypropylene successfully, and stimulating end-markets by increasing the supply of recycled polypropylene for reuse in packaging.  

As of June 2023, the Coalition marked nearly three years of impact with 41 materials recovery facilities (MRFs) receiving $10.3 million in grants to support new and improved PP sortation and expand community recycling education. To date, these grants and their catalyzed impact have improved PP recycling for nearly 11% of U.S. households and positively improved recycling for 34.2 million people, resulting in an estimated 42 million new pounds of valuable PP recovered annually for processing in growing domestic markets.  

In July 2022, the transformative work of the Coalition led to a How2Recycle upgrade of polypropylene rigid containers to “Widely Recyclable” in the U.S. Only through the support of existing and future Coalition members can we continue to support unlocking the environmental and economic benefits of polypropylene recycling and improving the system for all materials. 


Residential recycling access for polypropylene bottles, jugs, jars, and tubs as of June 2023

PP recycling access across the US

 Case in Point: Collaboration to Increase Access to Polypropylene Recycling

When polypropylene was downgraded in January 2020 to a “Check Locally” label under the How2Recycle program, there was a swift industry response emphasizing the value of PP and standing behind its viability as part of the circular economy. The Recycling Partnership saw an opportunity to bring stakeholders together from across the value chain to pre-competitively support investment in PP Coalition which led to the formation and launch of The Polypropylene Recycling Coalition in July 2020. In early 2022, the Coalition and How2Recycle teams began working together to assess the potential upgrade to “Widely Recyclable”. The teams evaluated access and end-market criteria.  

  • Access: Using the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s 2020/2021 Centralized Study on Availability of Recycling  for a prior baseline where polypropylene rigid containers were reported as having a 59% access rate, the teams leveraged The Partnership’s National Recycling Database to evaluate the current U.S. access rate. As of July 2022, The Partnership determined this rate had increased to 65%.  
  • End Markets: To evaluate the state of end markets, the teams utilized The Partnership’s Circular Packaging Assessment tool to confirm there had been growth and that domestic end markets for the material were strong. 

The improvements seen in these areas were largely attributable to the catalytic work of the Coalition, industry investment, and increased recognition of polypropylene’s value as a recycled commodity. Given these factors, polypropylene bottles, jugs, jars, and tubs became and continue to be eligible for the “Widely Recyclable” designation.  

An Estimated 2 Billion Pounds of Polypropylene Available to be Recycled

Polypropylene represents a huge recycling opportunity. Based on capture studies by The Partnership, we estimate that U.S. single-family households generate more than 2 billion pounds of PP annually. If just 30% of this material were recovered, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 311,000 metric tons and provide 609 million pounds of valuable raw material to companies with recycled content commitments, both voluntary and mandated. 

Change Begins with Education

The Partnership and Coalition will continue the work to increase curbside access and ensure recycling facilities can sort for polypropylene through grants for new or improved technology at their facilities, and support end markets by increasing the supply of recycled polypropylene for use in packaging. 

Visit our Polypropylene Recycling Education Materials page for free resources to educate residents about polypropylene recycling. 

A Growing Market for Recycled Polypropylene

The Coalition continues to see evidence of growth in endmarket opportunities for polypropylene. A key objective of the Coalition’s efforts has been to support end markets in responding to the growing demand for post-consumer recycled PP by increasing the amount that is available to be captured, reprocessed, and made into new items such as automotive parts, paint cans, transport packaging, and housewares, thus supporting a circular economy. 

The Need for Continued Investment

While polypropylene is undoubtedly making progress as a recycled material through the Coalition’s support and other meaningful investment, much more work and investment will be needed to unlock the full range of environmental and economic benefits of PP recycling. As the leading change agent and champion for the recovery and recycling of polypropylene, the Coalition will continue its mission to ensure PP is well-positioned to become a universally accepted recyclable material. To learn how you can be part of this initiative and drive the mission further, let’s connect and talk about how you can join the Coalition.


What is polypropylene?

Polypropylene (PP) is a type of plastic, sometimes referred to as number 5 plastic. Polypropylene is used in an array of food and non-food packaging. You can find it used in everyday items in your household like food packaging and beverage containers: yogurt cups, butter containers, coffee pods, apple sauce or pudding cups, and much more.

Is polypropylene recyclable?

There are many communities across the U.S. today that successfully recycle polypropylene. It is a material that can be successfully sorted at a material recovery facility (MRF) and has existing domestic end markets where it is reprocessed and can then be used in new products ranging from automotive parts to personal care and food packaging.

Is the Coalition still actively recruiting members?

Yes. We welcome any companies who would like to be a part of this initiative and encourage you to reach out to The Recycling Partnership to hear more about how you can get involved. Together, we can stimulate a system-wide shift to increase the capture of polypropylene and demand of recycled content. We encourage all companies that utilize polypropylene to be part of the solution.

Do you have to be a member of The Partnership to join the Polypropylene Coalition?

The Recycling Partnership’s mission is critical to the success of the Polypropylene Coalition. We are a re-granting action agent, and we’re the only organization investing dollars and mobilizing people, data, and solutions toward two priorities; investing in communities to affect measurable change and restore trust in the recycling system, and collaboration and investment to create a circular economy for packaging and materials, supporting a better system of the future.  To join the Polypropylene Coalition, companies must also be a member of The Recycling Partnership at the Associate level or above.

Why did The Recycling Partnership decide to work on polypropylene?

The Recycling Partnership’s Pathway to Circularity methodology and emerging strategic assessment process provides the guidance to address unique challenges of specific packages and materials. With the recent announcements about challenges facing polypropylene recycling we knew there was action needed. We stand by polypropylene and its viability in the circular economy. When recycling facilities have access to advanced sortation technology, polypropylene is a valuable commodity to recycle and can be continually remanufactured. Polypropylene has important and unique performance properties. Through the Polypropylene Recycling Coalition, we are taking action to improve the circularity of this material. Now is not the time to step away from polypropylene but to lean in. Together, we can stimulate a system-wide shift to increase the capture of polypropylene and demand of recycled content. We encourage all companies that utilize polypropylene to be part of the solution.

Thank you to our partners and founding members.