The Association of Plastic Recyclers
  • HDPE

    HDPE

Innovation in plastics and packaging is necessary to maintain a healthy and competitive industry. To support innovators, the APR has developed a variety of laboratory test method documents that can be used to assess the impact of a plastic design feature or component on recycling. APR test methods combine laboratory practices and measurements developed specifically by and for plastic recyclers with standard ASTM tests. The objective of testing is to determine the impact of a design feature on the processability of a package item as well as the ability of post-consumer resin (PCR) derived from such feedstocks to meet quality specifications for end-use applications. To view APR’s test method definitions, click here.

Design FeatureAPR Design®
Preferred
Detrimental to RecyclingRenders Non-RecyclablePossible Testing Results:APR Test MethodsAPR Recognized Commercially Available OptionsAdditional Resources
PreferredDetrimentalNon-Recyclable
BASE POLYMER
Postconsumer Polyolefin Contentcheckdocument
APR Lifecycle Inventory for Recycled Resins
Blends of HDPE and other resins with unknown effects in future uses of recovered resinsUntested Blendsdocument
HDPE-CG-01
checkcheckcheck
Color
Unpigmented (Natural)check
Opaque or Translucentcheck
Optical Brightenerscheck
Why?
Black and Dark ColorsSorting performance unknown; or if L-Value <40 or NIR reflectance </=10%document
SORT-B-01
document
SORT-B-01
document
NIR Sortation
checkcheck
DIMENSIONS
Items up to and greater than 7.5 liters (2 gallons) in volume (no large size boundary)check
Items more 3-dimensional (round) than 2-dimensional (flat)Approximate CASS > 20Approximate CASS between 11-20SORT-B-0X (Under Development)
checkcheckcheck
Small size boundary< 5 cm (2 in) in 2 dimensionsAny 2 dimensions < 5 cmdocument
SORT-B-02
document
Size Sortation
checkcheckcheck
CLOSURES & CLOSURE LINERS; SAFETY SEALS
Polyethylene Closurescheck
Closure Systems without Linerscheck
EVA and TPE Linerscheck
Polymers with density > 1.0 that sink in water - specifically PS, silicone, nylon, acetal, thermosetscheck
Shrink Film Safety Sleeves that are designed to be completely removed before the package can be openedcheck
Polyethylene or Polypropylene tamper-evident safety sleevescheck
PETG or PLA tamper-evident safety sleevescheck
Polypropylene closurescheck
Why?
Liners or safety seals that are composites of AL and papercheck
Why?
Closures containing floating silicone polymercheck
Why?
PVC Closures and Tamper-evident safety sleevesOnly if completely removed before package can be openedcheck
Why?
Closures or lidding with metal componentsUntested Itemsdocument
SORT-B-03
document
Metal Sortation
checkcheckcheck
Shrink Film Safety Sleeves, all materialsOnly if completely removed before package can be openedNot completely removeddocument
HDPE-CG-01
checkcheckcheck
SPRAY DISPENSERS AND PUMPS
Polymers with density > 1.0 that sink in water, specifically PS, silicone, nylon, acetal, thermosetscheck
Polypropylene dispenserscheck
Why?
Valves made of silicone (density and floatability will vary)checkdocument
HDPE-CG-01
checkcheckcheck
Valves or springs made of metalcheckdocument
SORT-B-03

X

checkcheck
BARRIER LAYERS, COATINGS, ADDITIVES
EVOH up to 5%, with a minimum of 32 mol% ethylenecheckCG Recognition Letters
"Workhorse" additivescheck
Non-HDPE barrier materials other than EVOHcheckCG Recognition Lettersdocument
Squeeze Tubes
checkcheckcheck
Additive concentration causing blend to sink due to density > 1.0checkdocument
O-S-01
checkcheckcheck
Degradable Additivescheckdocument
HDPE-S-03
message
APR Position Statement
checkcheckcheck
LABELS & INKS
Polypropylene or polyethylene labelscheckCG Recognition Lettersdocument
Squeeze Tubes
in-Mold labels of a compatible polymercheck
Full bottle sleeve labels designed for sortingcheckCG Recognition Lettersdocument
Squeeze Tubes
Paper Labelscheck
Why?
Label InksUntested inksdocument
HDPE-S-01
HDPE-CG-02
HDPE-CG-03
checkcheckcheck
Metal foil, metalized, and metallic printed labelscheckdocument
SORT-B-03
checkcheckcheck
Full bottle sleeve labelsSorting performance and compatiblity unknowndocument
SORT-B-01
HDPE-CG-02
HDPE-CG-03
document
Squeeze Tubes
checkcheckcheck
Direct Printing other than Date CodingSorting performance and compatiblity unknowndocument
HDPE-S-01
HDPE-CG-02
HDPE-CG-03
CG Recognition Letters
checkcheckcheck
LABEL/ADHESIVE COMBINATIONS
Metal Foil Labels that pass Metal Sorting Potential TestWith adhesive that releases in washWith adhesive that does not release in wash
Why?
Polystyrene LabelsWith adhesive that releases in washWith adhesive that does not release in wash
Why?
PLA LabelsWith adhesive that releases in washWith adhesive that does not release in wash
PVC LabelsWith adhesive that does not release in wash
Why?
With adhesive that does not release in wash
Label/Adhesive Combinations where adhesive release and substrate float/sink behavior are not knowncheckdocument
O-S-01
HDPE-CG-02
HDPE-CG-03
CG Recognition Letters
checkcheckcheck
ATTACHMENTS
Plastic Attachments with Density > 1.0 except PVCcheck
Paper Attachmentscheck
Why?
PVC Attachmentscheck
Why?
Polypropylene Attachmentscheck
Why?
RFIDcheck
Why?
Non-HDPE Attachmentscheckdocument
O-S-01
checkcheckcheck
Metal, Metalized, and Metal Containing Attachmentscheckdocument
SORT-B-03
checkcheck
Welded Attachmentscheckdocument
O-S-01
HDPE-CG-01
checkcheckcheck
Design FeatureAPR Design®
Preferred
Detrimental to RecyclingRenders Non-RecyclablePossible Testing Results:APR Test MethodsAPR Recognized Commercially Available OptionsAdditional Resources
PreferredDetrimentalNon-Recyclable
BASE POLYMER
Postconsumer Polyolefin Contentcheckdocument
APR Lifecycle Inventory for Recycled Resins
Blends of HDPE and other resins with unknown effects in future uses of recovered resinsUntested Blendsdocument
HDPE-CG-01
checkcheckcheck
Color
Unpigmented (Natural)check
Opaque or Translucentcheck
Optical Brightenerscheck
Why?
Black and Dark ColorsSorting performance unknown; or if L-Value <40 or NIR reflectance </=10%document
SORT-B-01
document
SORT-B-01
document
NIR Sortation
checkcheck
DIMENSIONS
Items up to and greater than 7.5 liters (2 gallons) in volume (no large size boundary)check
Items more 3-dimensional (round) than 2-dimensional (flat)Approximate CASS > 20Approximate CASS between 11-20SORT-B-0X (Under Development)
checkcheckcheck
Small size boundary< 5 cm (2 in) in 2 dimensionsAny 2 dimensions < 5 cmdocument
SORT-B-02
document
Size Sortation
checkcheckcheck
CLOSURES & CLOSURE LINERS; SAFETY SEALS
Polyethylene Closurescheck
Closure Systems without Linerscheck
EVA and TPE Linerscheck
Polymers with density > 1.0 that sink in water - specifically PS, silicone, nylon, acetal, thermosetscheck
Shrink Film Safety Sleeves that are designed to be completely removed before the package can be openedcheck
Polyethylene or Polypropylene tamper-evident safety sleevescheck
PETG or PLA tamper-evident safety sleevescheck
Polypropylene closurescheck
Why?
Liners or safety seals that are composites of AL and papercheck
Why?
Closures containing floating silicone polymercheck
Why?
PVC Closures and Tamper-evident safety sleevesOnly if completely removed before package can be openedcheck
Why?
Closures or lidding with metal componentsUntested Itemsdocument
SORT-B-03
document
Metal Sortation
checkcheckcheck
Shrink Film Safety Sleeves, all materialsOnly if completely removed before package can be openedNot completely removeddocument
HDPE-CG-01
checkcheckcheck
SPRAY DISPENSERS AND PUMPS
Polymers with density > 1.0 that sink in water, specifically PS, silicone, nylon, acetal, thermosetscheck
Polypropylene dispenserscheck
Why?
Valves made of silicone (density and floatability will vary)checkdocument
HDPE-CG-01
checkcheckcheck
Valves or springs made of metalcheckdocument
SORT-B-03

X

checkcheck
BARRIER LAYERS, COATINGS, ADDITIVES
EVOH up to 5%, with a minimum of 32 mol% ethylenecheckCG Recognition Letters
"Workhorse" additivescheck
Non-HDPE barrier materials other than EVOHcheckCG Recognition Lettersdocument
Squeeze Tubes
checkcheckcheck
Additive concentration causing blend to sink due to density > 1.0checkdocument
O-S-01
checkcheckcheck
Degradable Additivescheckdocument
HDPE-S-03
message
APR Position Statement
checkcheckcheck
LABELS & INKS
Polypropylene or polyethylene labelscheckCG Recognition Lettersdocument
Squeeze Tubes
in-Mold labels of a compatible polymercheck
Full bottle sleeve labels designed for sortingcheckCG Recognition Lettersdocument
Squeeze Tubes
Paper Labelscheck
Why?
Label InksUntested inksdocument
HDPE-S-01
HDPE-CG-02
HDPE-CG-03
checkcheckcheck
Metal foil, metalized, and metallic printed labelscheckdocument
SORT-B-03
checkcheckcheck
Full bottle sleeve labelsSorting performance and compatiblity unknowndocument
SORT-B-01
HDPE-CG-02
HDPE-CG-03
document
Squeeze Tubes
checkcheckcheck
Direct Printing other than Date CodingSorting performance and compatiblity unknowndocument
HDPE-S-01
HDPE-CG-02
HDPE-CG-03
CG Recognition Letters
checkcheckcheck
LABEL/ADHESIVE COMBINATIONS
Metal Foil Labels that pass Metal Sorting Potential TestWith adhesive that releases in washWith adhesive that does not release in wash
Why?
Polystyrene LabelsWith adhesive that releases in washWith adhesive that does not release in wash
Why?
PLA LabelsWith adhesive that releases in washWith adhesive that does not release in wash
PVC LabelsWith adhesive that does not release in wash
Why?
With adhesive that does not release in wash
Label/Adhesive Combinations where adhesive release and substrate float/sink behavior are not knowncheckdocument
O-S-01
HDPE-CG-02
HDPE-CG-03
CG Recognition Letters
checkcheckcheck
ATTACHMENTS
Plastic Attachments with Density > 1.0 except PVCcheck
Paper Attachmentscheck
Why?
PVC Attachmentscheck
Why?
Polypropylene Attachmentscheck
Why?
RFIDcheck
Why?
Non-HDPE Attachmentscheckdocument
O-S-01
checkcheckcheck
Metal, Metalized, and Metal Containing Attachmentscheckdocument
SORT-B-03
checkcheck
Welded Attachmentscheckdocument
O-S-01
HDPE-CG-01
checkcheckcheck
“Composite Attribute Summary Score” –CASS
The CASS is an evaluation of the sorting potential of an item based on its dimensions. The guiding principle is that rigid plastic packaging articles that are more three-dimensional (round, cylindrical, square) will sort more efficiently in today’s MRFs than those which are more two-dimensional (flat). The evaluation applies a weighting factor to each dimension length, then assigns the score based on the summation of the adjusted dimensions. Depending on the CASS, an item may be classified as “Preferred”, or it may need to be tested to determine its actual sorting potential. The CASS is intended to be used with the Evaluation of 2D/3D Sorting Potential of Articlestest method which is under development
Optical Brighteners
Optical brighteners are not removed in the recycling process and can create an unacceptable fluorescence for next uses of recycled HDPE. It is difficult to identify material with this negative effect until extremely late in the recycling process where a great deal of added cost has been imparted into a material of low value due to the additive.
Polypropylene closures
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.
Liners that are Composites of AL and Paper
These materials will contaminate wash water, will contribute to waste disposal costs, or will stick to the valuable HDPE and reduce quality and value of the final products.
Closures containing floating silicone polymer
This material passes through the float-sink tank along with the HDPE and is difficult to remove with other methods, thereby causing contamination in the final product.Sinking silicone does not experience this issue.
PVC Closures and Tamper-evident safety sleeves
PVC is relatively easy to remove in the float-sink tank since it sinks while the HDPE floats.However, the float-sink tank is imperfect and even a very small amount of PVC with the recycled HDPE renders large amounts of it unusable as the PVC degrades at lower temperatures than those at which HDPE is processed.
Polypropylene dispensers
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.
Paper Labels
The HDPE reclamation process involves water and agitation.The paper that detaches from the container when subjected to these conditions becomes pulp, which does not sink intact but remains suspended in the liquid, adding load to the filtering and water treatment systems.Paper remaining adhered to the HDPE travels with the HDPE to the extruder where the material carbonizes and causes color defects. Even after melt filtering, the burned smell and discoloration remain with the recycled HDPE thereby negatively affecting its potential reuse.
Metal Foil Labels that pass Metal Sorting Potential Test
If small, not detected, or allowed to pass, these labels, when used with an adhesive that does not release in the wash, either cause the attached HDPE to sink where it is lost in the float-sink tank or pass into the extruder where they can blind melt filters.
Polystyrene Labels
PS, when used with an adhesive that does not release in the wash, remains with the HDPE and enters the extruder where it is blended with the HDPE.PS is not compatible with HDPE and may cause splay or reduce PS, when used with an adhesive that does not release in the wash, remains with the HDPE and enters the extruder where it is blended with the HDPE.PS is not compatible with HDPE and may cause splay or reduce impact toughness for the recycled HDPE user.
PVC Labels
When used with an adhesive that releases in the wash, these labels sink in the float-sink tank where they are removed. But because the float-sink tank is imperfect, and even a very small amount of PVC entering the extruder causes severe quality and yield problems, this material is detrimental.
Paper Attachments
The HDPE reclamation process involves a wash step that removes adhesives and other components.This process renders paper into a pulp which is very difficult to filter from the liquid, adding significant load to the filtering and water treatment systems.Some of the small individual paper fibers will remain with the HDPE and carbonize when the material is extruded, causing unacceptable quality degradation.
PVC Attachments
PVC sinks in the float sink tank where the majority of it is removed from the HDPE.Because the float sink tank is imperfect and even a very small amount of PVC entering the extruder causes sever quality and yield problems, this material is detrimental. PVC degrades at HDPE extrusion temperatures and renders large amounts of the recycled HDPE unusable.
Polypropylene Attachments
When blended with HDPE it negatively affects stiffness and impact properties.Although very small amounts of PE, such as that contributed by labels, are regularly accepted by HDPE reclaimers, some attachments comprise a larger weight percentage of the package and therefore a greater negative affect.
RFID
The use of RFID’s is discouraged as may limit HDPE yield, introduce potential contamination, and increase separation and waste disposal costs.

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