Getting the most from your sale of plastic scrap means getting the best price at the time of sale and maintaining that price by avoiding claims from your buyer.
We have assembled some suggestions we feel will help processors get higher selling prices and help to protect them from claims after the sale.
Avoid cross contamination at the press with procedures to keep the types and grades you use separate. Cross contamination is the most common problem in post-industrial plastic recycling.
Provide individual, clearly marked containers for each resin. Maintain separate, clearly marked containers for trash and other nonrecyclables.
Avoid cross contamination during grinding by using dedicated grinders for each resin or instituting procedures to assure that all grinders are completely dismantled and each component is wiped clean before changeovers.
Avoid mixing filled and unfilled versions of the same generic resin together. Unfilled versions of a resin are usually more valuable.
Don't grind coated, painted, decorated or materials containing inserts with pure materials — the purer the material, the better.
Grind colors separately or at least keep natural and blacks from colors. Don't mix whites and light colors with blacks. Natural is worth more than colors. Separated colors may be worth more than mixed. Pure black is normally worth more than mixed colors.
Use good, serviceable packing to avoid loss claims, repacking and freight. Use lined gaylords with good covers or drums with liners, covers and rings. Strap or stretch wrap containers on pallets. Be sure pallets are secure enough to be stacked two or three high.
Fill packages. Partly filled packages add shipping costs and are more apt to be damaged during storage and transit. If you must ship a partial, mark it clearly ``Partial Carton — Top Load!''
Make labels as specific as possible. For example, a label reading ``black M90 acetal regrind'' is a lot better than one reading ``black acetal.''
When you list your material for sale be as specific as possible. Describe quantities, colors, resin and grade types with as much detail as possible — ``10,000 pounds of reground black DuPont ST801 nylon 6/6'' will fetch a higher offer price than ``nylon regrind — 10,000 pounds.''
When you ship your plastic scrap, number all packages and generate a detailed packing list and invoice giving individual package weights, numbers and types of packages and individual gross, tare and net weights. This is your proof of what you have shipped.
After you've found the high bidder for your scrap ask for references and check them to be sure that you'll be dealing with a reputable firm.
Silver is the president of Holden, Mass.-based Civiera & Silver International Inc., which specializes in buying, selling and recycling engineering thermoplastics and fluoropolymers.