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Non-Bottle Rigids Bale Sort

 

National Mixed Rigid Plastic Bale Composition Study


Executive Summary - Summer 2015
 

Overview of the APR Rigid Plastics Recycling Committee

The Association of Post Consumer Plastics Recyclers (APR), North America’s largest alliance of plastics reclaimers, represents companies totaling over 94% of the post-consumer plastic recycling processing capacity.   APR is constantly seeking new ways to strengthen the economically viable and environmentally responsible recycling of post-consumer plastics.

In 2008 APR created the Rigid Plastics Recycling Program to increase the recycling rate of rigid plastics beyond #1 and #2 bottles.   Rigid plastic recycling “stakeholders” - collectors, recyclers, brand users, resin producers and public policy makers - are openly discussing the issues, concerns and problems towards creating non-bottle rigid plastic recycling solutions. 

 

Purpose of Study

This study, and its 2011 predecessor, were undertaken by the APR Rigids Committee to determine the composition of the various types of mixed rigid plastic bales generated in North America, and to foster the expansion of plastic recycling. Understanding the type and tonnage of rigid plastic available for recycling in North America will strengthen and advance investment in non-bottle rigid recycling.

 

Overview of Study

In the marketplace, bale content varies from generator to generator and bale to bale.  This study’s conclusions are what can be drawn from the sample size evaluated.   APR would appreciate knowing of other studies to advance industry’s collective knowledge base of non-bottle plastic recycling. 

 

A total of 23 bales were sorted in the fall of 2014 and early 2015. Bales from North America were sorted at four facilities: two locations in California, Alabama and Canada.  Representative samples of each of 10 bale types (see descriptions below) were sorted by resin and product type: a total of 400 to 1,500 pounds per bale category.  The 23 bale samples were sorted into the ten categories listed below.

 

Bottles Nursery Pots
Cups Cup and Container Lids
Tubes Clamshells, Trays, Domes, Blister, Produce Containers
Containers Bulky Items
Buckets/Lids Other

 

The above product categories were subsequently sorted by the following resins, where present:

 

PET HDPE
HDPE Compatible PVC
LDPE PP
PP Compatible Mixed PE/PP
PS PLA/Bio
PC Other

 

A handheld resin ID unit was used to spot check for items that were not easily identified by sight, feel or sound.  Two product categories were sorted by color: HDPE Bottles and Cups.   HDPE Bottles were sorted into Natural and Color Bottles.  Cups were sorted by: Clear (Printed vs. Minimal Print), White (Printed vs. Minimal Print) and Colored.  A date stamp or less printing was considered Minimal Print. Once the resin and color sorts were complete each resin/product category was weighed and recorded.  Samples of product categories were photographed.   All report percentages are weight based.   In total, between product categories and resin type, baled material was divided into 90 sorts. 

Please click here to view a PDF of the full 2015 Executive Summary.  

The full 51 page study is available to purchase from the APR. It contains a breakout of each type of bale, sorted by product and resin categories and shows average percentage of each category in the bale. In addition, Appendix’ includes detailed sort data broken down both by bale type/product category and by bale type/ resin. The report also includes comparative data from the 2010/2011 National Mixed Rigid Plastic Bale Composition Study & Analysis of Non-Bottle Rigid Plastic Available for Recycling.

Contact Kara Pochiro for more details.

 

Please click here to view a PDF of the full 2011 National Mixed Rigid Bale Composition Study Executive Summary.

The full 77 page study is available to purchase from the APR. It contains a breakout of each type of bale, sorted by product and resin categories and shows average percentage of each category in the bale as well as data from two specific bales sorted. In addition, Appendix’ includes detailed sort data broken down both by bale type/product category and by bale type/ resin. Report also includes information on five additional bale types which were sorted – Colored HDPE bottles with Olefin containers, Mixed PP, Mixed HDPE, All Rigid with Film, and Residual.

Please contact Kara Pochiro for more details.