The Association of Plastic Recyclers
  • PET

    PET

PREFERRED

Polymers with density < 1.0 that float in water (specifically PE & PP closures; PE foam, EVA, TPE liners)

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.

DETRIMENTAL

None listed

RENDERS NON-RECYCLABLE

PVC

The use of PVC in spray dispensers or pumps 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

Valves containing silicone (density and floatability will vary)

Check valves in spray dispensers or pumps may be made of silicone as an alternative to metals. While polymers are generally preferable to metals, the composition of a silicone part may cause it to be incompatible with PET recycling. It should float in the sink/float system or be compatible with PET if it sinks. Companies that are considering such components and are unsure of their compatibility with recycling should ask their suppliers to provide APR test results.

SCREENING TEST

DEFINITIVE TEST

Valves or springs made of metal

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 pump springs or valves that trigger metal detectors will cause the entire plastic item to be removed from the stream and not recycled. Any dispenser containing metal components must be tested to determine the recyclability category. 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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