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

World Plastics Council takes on sustainbility for its initial priorities

November 25, 2014 9:51 am ET

The recently formed World Plastics Council (WPC) has set marine debris and post-consumer recycling and energy recover as its initial top priorities.    More

Image

AMA Plastics adds presses, changes management structure

November 24, 2014 3:57 pm ET

AMA Plastics Inc. has strengthened its management structure, received recognition for entrepreneurship, achieved quality improvements and added three ...    More

Image

Indian plastics group targets waste

November 24, 2014 12:46 pm ET

An Indian plastics environmental group and the country's largest brand for packaged water, Bisleri International Pvt. Ltd., have launched a trial...    More

Image

Can plastics return to the driver's seat?

November 24, 2014 6:00 am ET

When the June 1989 issue of Popular Science introduced three cutting-edge automotive technologies, including the latest Corvette and a powerful...    More

Image

Wilbur Ross steps down from IAC board

November 24, 2014 11:38 am ET

Financier Wilbur Ross Jr. has resigned from the boards of International Automotive Components Group SA and its subsidiaries due to new regulatory rest...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Brazil - State of the Industry Report

This in-depth report examines the Brazilian plastics industry from a historical and geographical context. Our analysts provide insight on economic trends and forecasts, growing manufacturing sectors that utilize plastics, private investment opportunities, market environment challenges, and innovations in R&D.

Data tables and charts on producer prices, trade, plastics production and end market indicators is also included.

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 Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

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

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events