PETRA proposes new way to judge materials' recyclability

Mike Verespej

Published: October 16, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Sustainability, Public Policy, Materials, Recycling, Design

NEW YORK (Oct. 16, 12:15 p.m. ET) — To overcome recycling test barriers that discourage improvements in PET resin, the PET Resin Association has developed a recyclability assessment model that it said is a more “realistic and effective method for assessing recyclability” of various types of PET resin than the guidelines from the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers.

The PETRA model integrates the need for continued innovation with stringent resin testing and monitoring, said Ralph Vasami, executive director of PETRA, which represents North American producers of PET resin.

The group announced its Recyclability and Innovation Model and posted it online Oct. 16. The document provides voluntary criteria for testing, evaluating and ensuring the recyclability of newly developed PET resins that are used in manufacturing PET bottles and containers.

New York-based PETRA said it issued the model when “it became apparent” — three years after discussions between the two organizations became in 2009 — “that APR was unwilling to change its protocol to allow for the introduction of resin variations anticipated for relatively low market presence, even if offset by additional recyclability safeguards.”

The PETRA model allows for testing variations at levels of 2 percent and 10 percent, which PETRA said encompasses the vast majority of today’s new PET resin variants. 

Current recyclability guidelines in the PET Bottle Critical Guidance document from the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers call for resin testing at concentrations of either 25 percent or 50 percent. The European PET Bottle Platform PET Recycling Test Protocol allows for testing at lower concentrations than APR.

“APR requires resin variants and innovations typically having a low market presence to meet the same requirements of a resin accounting for 25 percent or 50 percent of total North American PET production,” said PETRA.

Those requirements discourage innovation, make product differentiation difficult and preclude the introduction of resin improvements, PETRA said.

“In recent years, the APR’s focus on defining recyclability in terms of meeting the capabilities of the least-sophisticated recycling operations has been increasingly at odds with advances in resin science and resulting innovations.”

PETRA’s model focuses on real-market resin performance and the evaluation needs of producers, brand owners and recyclers, said Vasami.

In addition to special-use resins, PETRA’s model does include criteria for testing at those more robust levels of 25 percent and 50 percent.

In general, PETRA said its model is designed to combine the most progressive elements of the existing European PET Bottle Platform recyclability guidelines and the APR recycling guidelines for North America — without sacrificing rigorous testing benchmarks or compromising innovation.

PETRA stressed that under its model all innovations will be tested to the same performance criteria and given either a pass or fail mark.

According to PETRA, its model includes:

* A rigorous test protocol to measure recyclability in terms of a resin’s physical and chemical performance characteristics.

* A dispersion assessment, based on the test protocol results, that calculates the volume of a resin type that can safely be placed in the marketplace without compromising the overall recyclability of PET.

* The provision of control resins that reflect the current North American supply of water-grade and carbonated soft drink-grade PET resins, for use with the test protocol.

* Annual test monitoring — once the model is in prevalent use — of the combined virgin PET stream to identify and quantify any changes in the virgin resin stream that might adversely impact the recyclability of PET.

Under the program, PETRA will provide industry-representative control resins to organizations that use the model for testing. Once the model is widely used, PETRA said it will be committed to funding annual third-party testing and monitoring of the PET resin stream.


Comments

PETRA proposes new way to judge materials' recyclability

Mike Verespej

Published: October 16, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Oxford Polymers adds compounding capacity

January 30, 2015 1:16 pm ET

Materials maker Oxford Polymers has increased its compounding capacity by installing a new single-screw extrusion line.    More

Image

Marval's next generation expands capacity

January 30, 2015 1:27 pm ET

MAMARONECK, N.Y. — There’s a lot of history at Marval Industries Inc., but the 59-year-old compounding firm also is looking toward the...    More

Image

Lubrizol buys Brazil-based coatings technology manufacturer

January 30, 2015 11:50 am ET

Specialty chemicals company Lubrizol Corp. of Wickliffe, Ohio, said it has acquired a Brazilian company that makes coatings technology for products...    More

Image

2014 sees modest sales increase, but profit decrease, for Dow Chemical

January 29, 2015 4:20 pm ET

UPDATED — Dow Chemical Co. delivered modest sales growth in 2014, but the firm's profit took a tumble.    More

Image

Report: Brands are falling short on packaging sustainability

January 29, 2015 5:19 pm ET

Packaging in general, and plastic packaging in particular, has a long way to go in terms of recycling, according to a pair of environmental groups.    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Automotive: Innovation & Emerging Trends

This special report newly released by PN and sponsored by The Conair Group examines current trends in the use of plastics in automotive, materials innovations and the changing landscape. It includes a review of legislative/regulatory activity impacting vehicle development and lightweighting, market opportunities & challenges for mold and toolmakers, innovative design strategies being implemented by major OEMs and suppliers, as well as a review of key indicators in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and China.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events