The European PET container recycling group (Petcore Europe) and its working group focused on opaque and difficult to recycle PET packaging (ODR) has a three-year temporary endorsement for perforated sleeves on household and personal care PET bottles.
The approval comes from the European PET Bottle Platform (EBPB), a voluntary industry initiative that provides PET bottle design guidelines for recycling and evaluates PET bottle packaging solutions.
The Petcore working group has been working on increased recyclability of sleeved PET bottles, under the lead of Chairman Gian De Belder. As part of the effort, the group has come up with the solution to use perforated recyclable sleeves which are removable by consumers.
Removing the sleeves will make it easier to recycle and sort PET bottles.
The EBPB has approved the working group's solution on a number of conditions. Those include a stipulation that the sleeves have a double perforation, which will make it easier for consumer to remove the sleeves.
The EBPB has also demanded that the packaging industry develop a standardized perforation concept. The concept should address both functionality for easy tearing off, and design for “immediate recognition.”
Other considerations for the temporary endorsement:
• PET bottles with perforated sleeves must carry a standardized message for the consumer asking them to remove the sleeve from the bottle, and to place both the bottle and the sleeve in a recycling bin.
• The packaging industry must launch communication campaigns to engage consumers and provide data on the effectiveness of the campaigns.
• PET bottles with the sleeve must be compliant with guidelines for transparent clear/light blue bottles.
• The sleeve should allow for recognition of the PET bottle, by polymer, for sorting purposes, in case the sleeve wasn't removed.
• The design of the sleeve — including the materials and inks — must allow it to float in hot water and separate from PET flakes in a sink/float separation step. Printed sleeves must not bleed inks into the washing water.
"Petcore Europe, EPBP, Plastics Recyclers Europe and other associations worked together to align the industry and improve the design-for-recycling of HPC PET bottles," De Belder said in a news release about the approval.
The three-year period will be used to assess the packaging industry commitment in adopting the solution and to measure consumer engagement in removing the sleeves, Petcore Europe said in a Feb. 15 statement.
With the conditional approval, the next step will require industries involved in PET packaging to work together to meet the conditions, Petcore Europe added.
Petcore Europe is the association representing the complete PET value chain in Europe since 1993.