The Association of Plastic Recyclers
  • PET

    PET

PREFERRED

Closures without liners, made from polymers with density

The density of PET is 1.38 and so it sinks in water. Since these other polymers float in water, they are most easily separated from PET flake in conventional separation systems. Additionally, the PET recycling process captures floatable PE and PP closures to create an ancillary stream of marketable material. Care must be taken when modifying the PE or PP, with mineral fillers for example, to ensure the modifier does not increase the overall density to the point it sinks.

Closures plus liners made from polymers with density < 1.0 that float in water (specifically PE & PP closures; PE foam, EVA, TPE liners)

Shrink film safety seals of polymers with density < 1.0 that float in water

Since these polymers float in water, they are most easily separated from PET flake in conventional separation systems. Care must be taken when modifying the PE or PP, with mineral fillers for example, to ensure the modifier does not increase the overall density to the point it sinks.

Shrink film safety seals that are designed to be completely removed before the package can be opened

Regardless of material, designs that require complete removal by the consumer of the safety seal are Preferred, as the material will not be introduced into the recycling stream.

DETRIMENTAL

Closure liners that are composites of aluminum and paper

These materials will contaminate wash water, will contribute to waste disposal costs, or will stick to the saleable closure material or valuable PET and reduce quality and value of the final products.

Closures and shrink film safety seals made of polymers with density >1.0 that sink in water (specifically PS, silicone, nylon, acetal, thermosets)

The density of PET is 1.38 and so it sinks in water. Polystyrene, silicone, nylon, acetal, and thermoset plastics are plastics that are expected to sink in the float-sink tank with PET and be detrimental to PET recycling. Sinking plastics are not removed from PET, thereby causing contamination in the final product.

RENDERS NON-RECYCLABLE

PVC

The use of PVC closures or closure liners renders the package non-recyclable per APR. PVC sinks and is extremely hard for the recycler to remove, particularly in small pieces. The recycled PET stream is very intolerant of even minute amounts of PVC.

REQUIRES TEST RESULTS

Closures or lidding with metal components

Metal contamination is highly undesirable in recycled PET. Metals create wear in process machinery, increase operation costs and yield loss, and are a primary source of defects in products made with recycled PET. MRFs and PET reclaimers use magnets, eddy current separators and metal detectors to keep packages with metal components out of the process stream. Metal components such as closures or lidding that trigger metal detectors will cause the entire plastic item to be removed from the stream and not recycled. At best, sortation testing will classify such an item as Detrimental to Recycling.

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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