In a press release published on July 12, 2018, the industry association Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE) informed that, together with the U.S.-based Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), it has developed a “global definition governing the use of the term ‘recyclable’ as it relates to plastics packaging and products.”

The definition emphasizes the importance of several aspects that go beyond the mere technical recyclability of a material. Thus, for a product to be considered recyclable, the following four conditions should be met:

“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.

  1. The product must be sorted and aggregated into defined streams for recycling processes.
  2. The product can be processed and reclaimed/recycled with commercial recycling processes.
  3. The recycled plastic becomes a raw material that is used in the production of new products.”

For “innovative materials,” these requirements would mean that the ability to be “collected and sorted in sufficient quantities” should be ensured, along with a “compatibility with existing industrial recycling processes.” Alternatively, it should be confirmed that a given product “will be available in sufficient quantities to justify operating new recycling processes.”

Both groups welcome stakeholder comments on the proposed definition.

Read more

PRE (July 12, 2018). “International plastic recycling groups announce global definition of ‘Plastics Recyclability.’

Anne Marie Mohan (July 13, 2018). “A global definition of plastics recyclability announced.Greener Package

Jim Johnson (July 12, 2018). “Defining ‘recyclable’ on both sides of the Atlantic.Plastics News

Jim Johnson (July 13, 2018). “New global definition announced for recyclability of plastics.Plastics News Europe

PlastEurope (July 17, 2018). “PLASTICS RECYCLING. European and US organizations define ‘recyclable.’

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