The Association of Plastic Recyclers
  • PVC



Clear PVC attachments

Attachments made of the base polymer are recovered and recycled with the base polymer without causing contamination or yield loss, thereby generating the highest value.


Paper attachments

The PVC reclamation process uses a hot caustic wash to remove glue and other contaminants to the levels required to render the RPVC usable. Paper, when subjected to these conditions, becomes pulp which is very difficult to filter from the liquid, thereby adding significant load to the filtering and water treatment systems. Individual paper fibers making up pulp are very small and difficult to remove so some travel with the final polymer. Paper fibers remaining in the RPVC carbonize when the material is reused causing quality degradation.

Welded attachments

A certain amount of a welded attachment cannot be separated from the main polymer in the recycling process. These attachments, even when ground and made of floatable materials, cause contamination and yield loss issues in both cases: when the PVC they are attached to causes the ground section containing both polymers to sink, or when the ground section floats.

RFID’s (radio frequency identification devices) on packages, labels or closures

Unless they are compatible with PVC recycling and are demonstrated not to create any disposal issues based on their material content, the use of RFID’s is discouraged as it limits yield, introduces potential contamination, and increases separation costs.

Also see "Requires Test Results" Section


PET and PLA attachments

The use of PET or PLA attachments of any kind on PVC packaging is undesirable and should be scrupulously avoided. This includes thermoforms of PET and PLA that may be visually confused with PVC thermoforms. Very small amounts of PET or PLA can severely contaminate and render large amounts of PVC useless for most recycling applications. In addition, PET and PLA are very difficult to separate from PVC in conventional water-based density separation systems due to similar densities (densities greater than 1.0) that cause both to sink in these systems.


Metal, metalized and metal containing attachments

Sortation testing for metal components will result in either a Detrimental or a Renders Non-Recyclable ruling. Metal components cannot be Preferred at this time.

Examples include metal foils and metalized substrates that sink in water. In the recycling process these items are either identified and removed along with their PVC component in the early stages, thereby causing yield loss, or they pass into the recycling process causing a contamination issue. Since they are heavier than water they sink with the PVC in the float-sink tank.

If a metalized attachment causes the PVC bottle to fail sortation testing, the bottle is Rendered Non-Recyclable as it is removed from the stream and discarded. If a metalized attachment passes through sortation, it is considered Detrimental as it contaminates PVC.


Non-PVC attachments such as handles

These should not be adhesively bonded to the package and should readily separate from the package when ground. They should be made from materials that float in water such as PP or HDPE. If adhesives are used to affix attachments, their selection should consider the adhesive criteria within this document.

No test methods currently exist for PVC. However, PET Package Component Sink/Float Evaluation (PET-S-05) may be adapted substituting PVC for PET.


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