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rPET Quality Report

6.0 Industry protocols

6.0 Industry protocols for testing rPET flake and pellet quality The survey feedback from both reprocessors and converters suggested that industry protocols or guidelines from organisations such as EPBP or APR are not widely used, or perhaps not as well known as would be expected. The development of best practise guidelines for PET recycling and achieving best possible rPET quality by following leading industry benchmarks and testing standards may be beneficial for the industry overall and should be considered. These developments could be performed together with key European organisations such as EuPR, EPRO, EPBP and Petcore. Improving food grade rPET quality for use in UK packaging 24

7.0 Analysing the effects of contaminants on rPET discolouration Recycled PET has classically been more yellow or brown when compared to virgin PET. The factors that cause discolouration of rPET include: • Presence of PVC particles; • Coloured particles from PET and other polymers; • Adhesive residues; • Processing of residual rPET fines and dust with PET flake; and • Thermal and oxidative history. To measure the discolouration of rPET resin, spectrophotometry was used to measure the resin‟s L, a, and b values. The „b‟ value is of particular importance for recycled PET as it denotes the yellowness of an item. A higher „b‟ value represents a more yellow resin. Figure 7: Measurement of rPET colour is performed by evaluating the L, a, b values. 7.1 rPET discolouration simulation trials A series of R&D laboratory trials were performed to evaluate the impact of PVC, coloured PET particles and PET fines on the discolouration and yellowing of rPET. The trials included mixing of virgin PET with these contaminants in known quantities as well as comparing the L,a,b values (used as a measure of colour) of hot washed flake from a UK recycler. Virgin PET was used as the main constituent for the majority of the trials due to its ability to not mask the yellowing effect of the contaminants. The test matrix used for the study is presented below. Improving food grade rPET quality for use in UK packaging 25

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