Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resins, often used in food and beverage containers, can be difficult to gauge in terms of the products’ levels of recyclability.
Now, the PET Resin Association (PETRA) has developed a voluntary Recyclability & Innovation Model program to help plastics firms gauge the recyclability of PET resins. The program uses testing and assessment criteria for newly-developed resins intended for concentrations of between two to 10 per cent, and can be scaled to test resins in concentrations of up to 50 per cent.
“We believe the PETRA Model will increase both innovation and recyclability testing by focusing on real-market resin performance and the evaluation needs of producers, brand owners and recyclers,” said Ralph Vasami, executive director of PETRA, in an October 16, 2012 statement. “Confirming the viability of promising resin variants is vital to advancing PET resin science and the use of recycled material.”
PETRA says the new methodology is more in line with the needs of the modern plastics industry. Similar voluntary standards have been developed by the Association for Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers, which have been "increasingly at odds with advances in resin science and resulting innovations,” PETRA says.
For its part, APR responded to the new standards in an email to members, noting "[We] concluded after considerable examination that test concentrations should be 50 per cent for purposes of recyclability declaration and recognition.
Testing at such concentration serves the long term best interest of our plastics recycling industry. PETRA members have declared that testing limits as low as two per cent should be allowable. We disagree, strongly, with the conditional nature of the PETRA model."