*Summary Guidance Table under development
For all plastic resins and container types, label selection should be considered carefully to find the solution most compatible with the recycling process that also provides the necessary performance characteristics. At a minimum, labels must be designed so NIR sorting machinery can identify the polymer with the label attached, and labels should use adhesives that release from the bottle or packaging item. Metal foil or metalized labels may also interfere with automated sortation and testing is recommended. Removing adhesives is a significant component to the cost of recycling so the packages using the lowest quantity of appropriate adhesive are the most compatible. All labels should meet guidance for coverage and compatibility, and testing should be conducted in any areas where this is unclear.
Appropriate tests may include:
- Evaluation of the Near Infrared (NIR) Sorting Potential of a Whole Plastic Article (SORT-B-01)
- Evaluation of Sorting Potential for Plastic Articles Utilizing Metal, Metalized or Metallic Printed Components (SORT-B-03)
- HDPE Bleeding Label Test (HDPE-S-01)
- Critical Guidance Protocol for HDPE (HDPE-CG-01)
- PET Package Component Sink/Float Evaluation (PET-S-05)
- Benchmark Test for Clear PET Articles with Labels and Closures (PET-B-02)
- Critical Guidance Protocol for Clear PET Articles with Labels and Closures (PET-CG-02)
A number of Preferred label technologies, including resins, inks, and adhesives, have received APR Design® Recognition . Brands are encouraged to reward supplier innovation by specifying these recognized technologies.
Additional guidance for choosing labels for PET bottles can be found in the following Resource Documents: