The Association of Plastic Recyclers
  • PLA

    PLA

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.

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 PLA 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 PLA stream, non-conforming items that are more "flat" can cause contamination in the paper stream. If items are not captured and directed into the PLA 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

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