The Association of Plastic Recyclers
  • HDPE

    HDPE

PREFERRED

Dispenser seals made of Polymers with density >1.0 that sink in water (specifically PS, silicone, nylon, acetal, thermosets)

Silicone, polystyrene, thermoset plastics, nylon and acetal are expected to sink in the float-sink tank, thereby separating from the HDPE. They also do not damage or wear cutting machinery in the recycling process. Small amounts of these materials that make it through the float-sink process can be melt filtered from the recycled HDPE in the extrusion step. However, these materials are lost to the waste stream in the recycling process and are considered less preferable than an alternative floating attachment that is compatible with HDPE.

DETRIMENTAL

Polypropylene dispensers

The APR recognizes that polypropylene is perhaps the most commonly used material for dispensers. Complete HDPE packages with PP dispensers are considered recyclable (as long as all other components are Preferred), but with a Detrimental feature. Since polypropylene floats in water like polyethylene it is not separated in the reclaimers float-sink tank. When blended with HDPE it negatively affects the impact properties and can render the material brittle. Although very small amounts of PP, such as that contributed by labels, are regularly accepted by HDPE reclaimers, closures and dispensers comprising a larger weight percentage of the package have a greater negative affect.

RENDERS NON-RECYCLABLE

None specified

REQUIRES TEST RESULTS

Valves containing Silicone (density and floatability will vary)

Check valves in spray dispensers or pumps may be made of silicone as an alternative to metals. While polymers are generally preferable to metals, the composition of a silicone part may cause it to be incompatible with HDPE recycling. It should sink in the sink/float system or be compatible with HDPE if it floats

Companies that are considering such components and are unsure of their compatibility with recycling should ask their suppliers to provide APR test results

DEFINITIVE TEST

Valves or Springs made of Metal

Sortation testing for metal components will result in either a Detrimental or a Renders Non-Recyclable ruling. Dark colors cannot be Preferred at this time.

Metal contamination is highly undesirable in the HDPE reclaiming process. Metals create wear in process machinery, and increase operation costs and yield loss. While metals sink in the float/sink tank and are therefore easily separable from HDPE flakes, they contribute wear to size reduction machinery. MRFs and HDPE reclaimers use magnets, eddy current separators and metal detectors to keep packages with metal components out of the process stream. Any metal components, such as pump springs, valves, safety seals, or lidding that trigger these devices will cause the entire plastic item to be removed from the stream and not recycled.

BENCHMARK TEST

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