The Association of Plastic Recyclers
  • PET

    PET

PREFERRED

Clear PET attachments with compatible crystalline melt point

Attachments made of the base polymer are recovered and recycled with the base polymer without causing contamination or yield loss, thereby generating the highest value.

DETRIMENTAL

Paper attachments

The PET recycling process involves a hot caustic wash 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 PET and carbonize when the material is extruded, causing unacceptable quality degradation.

Welded attachments

A certain amount of a welded attachment cannot be separated from the PET in the recycling process. These attachments, even when ground and made of floatable materials, cause RPET contamination and yield loss issues in both cases: when the PET they are attached to causes the ground section containing both polymers to sink, or when the ground section floats.

RFID’s (radio frequency identification devices) on packages, labels or closures

Unless they are compatible with PET recycling and are demonstrated not to create any disposal issues based on their material content, the use of RFID’s is discouraged as it limits PET yield, introduces potential contamination, and increases separation costs.

Polystyrene (PS)

Polystyrene has a density of > 1.0, so it sinks and remains with the PET in float/sink separation systems. It is not compatible with PET and may cause serious processing and end-use problems.

RENDERS NON-RECYCLABLE

PVC and PLA attachments

Both materials are extremely difficult to remove in the recycling process due to their similarity in density to PET, which causes them to sink in the float/sink tank along with the PET. Both cause severe quality degradation in the final recycled PET stream even in very small amounts.

REQUIRES TEST RESULTS

Metal, metalized and metal containing attachments

Examples include metal foils and metalized substrates that sink in water. In the recycling process these items are either identified and removed along with their PET component in the early stages, thereby causing yield loss, or they pass into the recycling process causing a contamination issue. Since they are heavier than water they sink with the PET in the float-sink tank.

If a metalized attachment causes the PET bottle to fail sortation testing, the bottle is Rendered Non-Recyclable as it is removed from the stream and discarded. If a metalized attachments passes through sortation, it is considered Detrimental as it contaminates PET.

BENCHMARK TEST

PET Preferred Guidance

Closure

Closure

Made of PE or PP so it separates from PET in a float/sink tank and can be sold as a side stream by reclaimer.
Dimensions

Dimensions

More 2D (round) than 3D (flat), and larger than 5 cm in two dimensions.
Layers & Coatings

Layers & Coatings

APR Critical Guidance recognized barriers or protective coatings.
Resin

Resin

PET with a crystalline melting point between 225C and 255C. Post consumer PET (RPET) content is encouraged.
Label

Label

Crystallizable PET or a polymer that floats in water; label covers less than 100% of bottle surface.
  • Closure

    Closure

    Made of PE or PP so it separates from PET in a float/sink tank and can be sold as a side stream by reclaimer.
  • Dimensions

    Dimensions

    More 2D (round) than 3D (flat), and larger than 5 cm in two dimensions.
  • Layers & Coatings

    Layers & Coatings

    APR Critical Guidance recognized barriers or protective coatings.
  • Resin

    Resin

    PET with a crystalline melting point between 225C and 255C. Post consumer PET (RPET) content is encouraged.
  • Label

    Label

    Crystallizable PET or a polymer that floats in water; label covers less than 100% of bottle surface.

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