The Association of Plastic Recyclers
  • PS/EPS

    PS/EPS

Polystyrene (PS)

PREFERRED

Clear unpigmented polymer

Clear material has the highest value as a recycled stream since it has the widest variety of end-use applications. It is the most cost effective to process through the recycling system.

DETRIMENTAL

See "Requires Test Results" section

REQUIRES TEST RESULTS

Black and dark colors with L-Value less than 40 or NIR reflectance less than or equal to 10%

Sortation testing for dark colors will result in either a Detrimental or a Renders Non-Recyclable ruling. Dark colors cannot be Preferred at this time.

NIR (near-infrared) sorting technology used in MRFs and reclaimers is not capable of identifying many dark polymers since the colorant absorbs light and manual sorting cannot distinguish one dark polymer from another. Other separation techniques such as float-sink cannot be employed since many polymers sink with PS. Therefore, dark packaging is considered a contaminant for nearly all reclaimers. Some dark shades may be detected by NIR but these must be tested to determine their sortability.

BENCHMARK TEST


Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)

PREFERRED

Unpigmented or white polymer

Unpigmented or white material has the highest value as a recycled stream since it has the widest variety of end-use applications. It is the most cost effective to process through the recycling system.

Light pink or light blue

These colors are common and dilute enough that they don’t significantly affect the color of the recycled product.

DETRIMENTAL

See “Requires Test Results" section

RENDERS NON-RECYCLABLE

See “Requires Test Results" section

REQUIRES TEST RESULTS

Black and dark colors with L-Value less than 40 or NIR reflectance less than 10%

Sortation testing for dark colors will result in either a Detrimental or a Renders Non-Recyclable ruling. Dark colors cannot be Preferred at this time.

NIR (near-infrared) sorting technology used in MRFs and reclaimers is not capable of identifying many dark polymers since the colorant absorbs light and manual sorting cannot distinguish one dark polymer from another. Therefore, dark packaging is considered a contaminant for nearly all reclaimers. Some dark shades may be detected by NIR but these must be tested to determine their sortability.

BENCHMARK TEST

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