The Association of Plastic Recyclers
  • PET

    PET

PREFERRED

Items whose dimensions are clearly more 3-dimensional than 2-dimensional (CASS > 20)

Early in the MRF sorting process, 3-dimensional items (containers) are separated from 2-dimensional items (paper). It is important that they sort property and do not cross-contaminate. Most PET bottles are more “round” (3-D) than “flat” (2-D) and therefore sort correctly.

Items less than 7.5 liters (two gallons) in volume

Recycling machinery, particularly automatic sorting equipment, is not large enough to accept items larger than 7.5 liters. Because larger containers jam the systems, most MRFs employ manual sortation before the automatic line to remove the large items. These items are recovered in a stream of bulky rigid containers that are sold and processed as polyethylene since the vast majority of bulky rigid items are comprised of this polymer. Other polymers including PET either negatively affect or are lost by the polyethylene processing.

Items that clearly measure larger than 5 centimeters (two inches) in two dimensions

Small size boundaries are of concern because the industry standard screen size for Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) in North America potentially loses materials less than two inches to the residue waste stream. Testing can determine the impact of the size and shape of a container on sortability.

DETRIMENTAL

Items greater than 7.5 liters (two gallons) in volume

Recycling machinery, particularly automatic sorting equipment, is not large enough to accept items larger than 7.5 liters . Because larger containers jam the systems, most MRFs employ manual sortation before the automatic line to remove the large items. These items are recovered in a stream of bulky rigid containers that are sold and processed as polyethylene since the vast majority of bulky rigid items are comprised of this polymer. Other polymers including PET either negatively affect or are lost by the polyethylene processing.

REQUIRES TEST RESULTS

Items more 2-dimensional than 3-dimensional (CASS > 11 but < 20)

Aside from not being captured in the PET stream, non-conforming items that are more “flat” can cause contamination in the paper stream. If items are not captured and directed into the PET stream, they are not recycled. Items should have a minimum depth of two inches for proper sortation.

*Under Development - Definitive Test
Evaluation of 2D/3D Sorting Potential for Articles (SORT-B-0X)

Items smaller than 5 centimeters (2 inches) in 2 dimensions

The industry standard screen size for North American MRFs potentially loses materials less than 5 cm to the residue waste stream. Testing can determine the impact of the size and shape of a container on sortability.

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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