Mislabeled Plastic Bottles Vex PET Recyclers

by | Mar 16, 2010

plastic bottleThese days, almost every plastic bottle indicates that it’s recyclable. As far as two plastics recycling associations are concerned, that’s just the problem.

A preponderance of bottles falsely labeled as PET or PET-compatible is causing problems for recycling companies, reports PlasticsNews.

The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers and the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) are bringing the issue to the fore, trying to influence the plastics resin supply chain and bottle manufacturers.

Steve Alexander, executive director of APR, said the issue had been “exacerbated in the last year or so.”

Dennis Sabourin, executive director of Sonoma, Calif.-based NAPCOR, said there had been a “misuse” of the resin identification code.

“It is causing problems because these mislabeled containers have significantly lower melt temperatures that will cause the recycled material to stick together inside the dryer,” Sabourin told PlasticsNews.

Officially, the resin identification code is not a recycling code. But since it’s law in 39 states, many consumers view it as a recycling code.

The code may need to be revised, and ASTM International is reviewing this.

David Cornell, technical director for APR, said it becomes problematic when too many copolymers, which increase melt strength and enhance processability, are added to the mix. In that case, the “resulting polyester no longer behaves like PET bottle polymer and may not process well together,” he told Plastics News.

“Sometimes folks do get carried away on claims, and wrong or insufficient words are said about compatibility,” he added.

In other plastics recycling news, MBA Polymers, a multinational plastics recycler wants to see increased U.S. standards for plastics recycling.

Mike Biddle, president of MBA, said in a Plastics Today article there needs to be better “end-of-life scenarios” for electronics and automotive waste in the U.S.

He would like to see the U.S. pass reclaim-oriented legislation to help take care of the 21 million tons of electronics waste and 10 billion pounds of automotive waste generated annually in North America.

Biddle added that MBA plans to double its capacity in the coming year.

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