The Association of Plastic Recyclers
  • PET

    PET

PREFERRED

Label Inks that have received APR Critical Guidance Recognition

Several companies have received APR Critical Guidance Recognition for label inks for PET bottles. Significant data is available to determine whether a label ink may be compatible with PET recycling, and APR offers test methods to verify this.

DETRIMENTAL

None listed

RENDERS NON-RECYCLABLE

None listed

REQUIRES TEST RESULTS

Direct printing other than date coding

Historically, inks used in direct printing tend to bleed or otherwise discolor the PET during the recycling process or introduce incompatible contaminants that reduce the value of the RPET. The specific ink must be tested to determine its effect.

BENCHMARK TEST

DEFINITIVE TEST

Inks that might stain PET flake in the wash process

Some label inks bleed color in the reclamation process, and that color may re-deposit on the PET flake suspended in the wash water. Discoloring the PET in this way significantly diminishes its value for recycling.

In order for any of these label inks to be considered Preferred Design, the specific items must have been tested and found Preferred based on the test results. If these items have not been tested, they are considered Detrimental to Recycling. Testing will determine the appropriate category.

Non-staining label inks that have received Critical Guidance Recognition are commercially available. Companies that are considering label inks and are unsure of their compatibility with recycling should ask their suppliers to provide APR test results.

BENCHMARK TEST

DEFINITIVE 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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