Recycling Product News Logo

International plastic recycling groups announce global definition of “Plastics Recyclability”

International plastic recycling groups announce global definition of “Plastics Recyclability”

In an effort to provide a consistent metric to guide the efforts of sustainability for plastics in the Circular Economy, two of the leading global international recycling organizations have developed a global definition governing the use of the term "recyclable" as is relates to plastics packaging and products.

In the joint announcement, Ton Emans, President of Plastics Recycling Europe, and Steve Alexander, President and CEO of The Association of Plastic Recyclers, based in Washington, DC, pointed to the onslaught of recent announcements around commitments to package sustainability and recyclability.

"The use of the term ‘recyclable' is consistently used with packages and products without a defined reference point," commented Alexander. "At the end of the day, recyclability goes beyond just being technically recyclable there must be consumer access to a recycling program, a recycler must be able to process the material, and there must be an end market."

"Recently, we have seen many announcements regarding legislative measures on plastics products and pledges of the industry actors committing to making their products recyclable," added Emans. "As recyclers, we are a fundamental part of the solution to the issue of sustainability of plastics, and we need for the appropriate audiences to understand what is necessary to label a product or package ‘recyclable'. We welcome these commitments and encourage others to follow. Nevertheless, clear and universally endorsed definitions and objectives are needed."

According to both associations, plastics must meet four conditions for a product to be considered recyclable:
1. The product must be made with a plastic that is collected for recycling, has market value and/or is supported by a legislatively mandated program.
2. The product must be sorted and aggregated into defined streams for recycling processes.
3. The product can be processed and reclaimed/recycled with commercial recycling processes.
4. The recycled plastic becomes a raw material that is used in the production of new products.
 
The associations also note that innovative materials must demonstrate that they can be collected and sorted in sufficient quantities, must be compatible with existing industrial recycling processes or will have to be available in sufficient quantities to justify operating new recycling processes.

Although the definition is to be applied on a global scale, both groups understand the complexity of a global system of plastics recycling, and welcome comments from the plastics recycling industry and relevant stakeholders. This definition is supported by PETCORE Europe (http://www.petcore-europe.org), which says a Global Definition of Recyclability is an integral step to harmonize the worldwide plastics recycling industry.

Global_Recyclability_Definition_Release_APR PRE FINAL 180711.pdf.

Company info

1001 G Street, NW Suite 500 West
Washington, DC
US, 20001

Website:
plasticsrecycling.org

Read more

Avenue de Cortenbergh 71
Brussel,
BE, 1000

Website:
plasticsrecyclers.eu

Read more

Avenue de Cortenbergh 71
Brussels,
BE, 1000

Website:
plasticsrecyclers.eu

Read more

Avenue de Cortenbergh 71
Brussels,
BE, 1000

Website:
petcore-europe.org

Read more

More from Plastics Recycling

Sponsored Brought to you by: Van Dyk Recycling Solutions Logo

It’s harder than ever to get clean paper

But we've been successfully sorting paper on the front end with optical sorters since 2005. Why have we been so successful? Because we know it's not JUST about the optical. We focus on your entire operation, so you make the most of your fiber line. Is your optical sorter living up to its potential? Call us at 203-967-1100 for a free system evaluation.

Learn more
Sponsored Brought to you by: Acculoader / X-Body Equipment Logo

With an Acculoader automatic loading system, even smaller yards can take advantage of surging overseas demand for containerized scrap metal

Traditionally, recyclers across Canada have sent a huge percentage of their recovered scrap metal to Hamilton, Ontario, or Pennsylvania in the U.S., via open-top rail cars and truck trailers. The scrap is then melted down and turned into new steel. This is still the case for much of our scrap steel, but recently the growing trend toward containerization has introduced new opportunities for efficient, cost-effective shipping of both non-ferrous and ferrous materials to overseas markets. 

Learn more

Get our newsletter

Get our newsletter