The Association of Plastic Recyclers
  • PE Film

    PE Film

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 FeatureRecyclability CategoryAPR Test MethodsAPR Recognized Commercially Available OptionsAdditional Resources
BASE MATERIALS
Polyethylene mono-material flexible packaging, with a minimum of 90% PE and copolymers by weight of the total packaging structure check Preferred      

Special grades of PE available in the industry including plastomers, mLLDPE, ULDPE

check Preferred      
EVA copolymers designed for film extrusion at any weight percent, provided the VA (vinyl acetate) levels are 5% or less of the total package weight check Preferred      
Ethylene copolymer ionomers designed for film extrusion when used below 20% in weight of the total package check Preferred   CG Recognition Letters  

PB (polybutenes) up to 5% in weight

check Preferred      
Postconsumer PE Content check Preferred     document
APR Position Paper
Less than 90% PE x Detrimental      
PET, PVC, PVDC, Paper, Aluminum foil or degradable polymers x Non-Recyclable      
Less than 80% PE unknownNeeds Testing

Untested blends may yield Preferred, Detrimental, or Non-Recyclable Results

document
FPE-CG-01
   
Blends, coextrusion or lamination of PE and other resins designed to enhance properties in the intended first use with unknown residual effects in future uses of the recovered resin unknown Needs Testing
Untested blends may yield Preferred, Detrimental, or Non-Recyclable results
document
FPE-CG-01
CG Recognition Letters  
COLOR
Unpigmented (Natural) PE check Preferred      
White, buff, or lightly colored film check Preferred      
Dark colors x Detrimental
Why?
     
Metallic Pigments unknown Needs Testing

Untested pigments may yield Preferred, Detrimental, or Non-recyclable results

document
SORT-B-03
FPE-B-01
FPE-CG-01
   
Pigments Concentration where density approaches 0.996 unknown Needs Testing

Untested pigments may yield Preferred, Detrimental, or Non-recyclable results

document
O-S-01
     
CLOSURES, DISPENSERS, AND OTHER ATTACHMENTS
Polyethylene flexible seals, closures or dispensers check Preferred   CG Recognition Letters  
Metal and metal containing closures, dispensers or attachments x Non-Recyclable      
Non-PE flexible or rigid seals, closures, dispensers and other attachments unknown Needs Testing
Untested closures and fitments may yield Preferred, Detrimental, or Non-Recyclable results
document
FPE-B-01
FPE-CG-01
   
Polyethylene rigid attachments unknown Needs Testing
Untested attachments may yield Preferred, Detrimental, or Non-Recyclable results
document
FPE-B-01
FPE-CG-01
   
ADDITIVES AND BARRIER COATINGS
"Workhorse" additives historically used without issue check Preferred      
SiOx and AlOx barrier coatings check Preferred      
PVDC Coatings xNon-Recyclable      
Additive concentration where density is higher than 1.0 xNon-Recyclable      
Other additives and Coatings unknown Needs Testing
Untested barrier layers may yield Preferred, Detrimental, or Non-Recyclable results
document
FPE-B-01
FPE-CG-01
   
Metalized Layers unknown Needs Testing
Untested metalized layers may yield Preferred, Detrimental, or Non-Recyclable results
document
SORT-B-03
FPE-B-01
FPE-CG-01
  document
Metal Sortation
Degradable Additives unknown Needs Testing
Untested additives may yield Preferred, Detrimental, or Non-Recyclable results
document
O-S-03
  document
APR Position Paper
Additive concentrations where density approaches 0.996 unknown Needs Testing
Untested additives may yield Preferred, Detrimental, or Non-Recyclable results
document
O-S-01
PP-CG-01
   
LABELS
Polyethylene labels with tested inks and adhesives check Preferred      
Polyolefin labels that have been tested and found to be compatible with PE recycling systems check Preferred   CG Recognition Letters  
Printed labels with untested inks x Detrimental      
Untested label adhesives x Detrimental      
Paper Labels x Detrimental
Why?
     
Metal foil labels xNon-Recyclable      
Label Inks applied to Preferred label materials unknown Needs Testing
Untested inks may yield Preferred, Detrimental, or Non-Recyclable results
document
HDPE-S-01
   
Labels with metallic inks unknown Needs Testing

Untested inks may yield Preferred, Detrimental, or Non-Recyclable Results

document
SORT-B-03
FPE-B-01
FPE-CG-01
   
Label adhesives unknownNeeds testing

Untested inks may yield Preferred, Detrimental, or Non-Recyclable Results

document
FPE-BM-01
FPE-CG-01
   
DIRECT PRINT INKS, PRIMERS, COATINGS & LAMINATING ADHESIVES
Unprinted and non-laminated PE check Preferred      
Tested inks, primers, coatings and laminating adhesives that disperse in the final polymer without having an impact on quality checkPreferred   CG Recognition Letters    
Direct printing, primers & overprint lacquers and coatings, glossy or matte x Detrimental      
Laminating adhesives, cold seal adhesives xDetrimental      
High levels of inks, primers, coatings, and laminating adhesives that cause significant degradation of physical and mechanical properties of the end market PCR or product xNon-Recyclable      
Curable inks, coatings & adhesives unknown Needs testing. Untested materials may yield Preferred, Detrimental, or Non-recyclable results document
FPE-B-01
FPE-CG-01
   
Metallic inks unknown Needs Testing
Untested inks may yield Preferred, Detrimental, or Non-Recyclable results
document
FPE-BM-01
FPE-CG-01
   
Dark colors, specifically blue or green
It is not common for film to be sorted by color in the recycling process. Therefore, the resulting recycled material is a blend of all the colors present. Dark colors have a great effect on a lot of material.
Paper Labels
Paper labels pulp and become a water filtration and contamination problem if they are processed through a wet recycling process.Individual paper fibers are very difficult to remove and attach themselves to the film creating specks and irregularities in the products made from recycled film.Furthermore, in either a wet or dry process they degrade in the extruder creating an undesirable burnt smell that cannot be removed from the recycled plastic.This significantly limits its reuse.
APR Recognized Commercially Available Options
Dow
Henkel

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