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rPET Quality Report

MRF operators and

MRF operators and plastics sorters can improve the colour of rPET significantly by: • Improving the sorting and separation of plastic packaging. The proposed MRF Code of Practice aims to make the composition of MRF inputs and outputs transparent and this will improve bale quality. Food grade rPET reprocessors can improve the colour of rPET significantly by: • Screening/sieving rPET flake to remove particles 4mm could form premium rPET grades and particles

Contents 1.0 Introduction and scope of the project .......................................................... 9 2.0 Quality issues related to recovery and collection of PET packaging ........... 11 2.1 Changes in bale composition ..................................................................... 11 2.2 Effect on PET reprocessors ....................................................................... 11 2.3 Effect on converters ................................................................................. 12 2.4 Effect on end users .................................................................................. 12 3.0 Reprocessing of post-consumer PET .......................................................... 13 3.1 Bale quality audits & quality tests performed during reprocessing ................. 13 3.2 Sorting equipment performance audits ....................................................... 13 4.0 Key contaminants impacting rPET quality .................................................. 14 4.1 Impact of PVC contamination .................................................................... 16 4.2 Impact of fines from reprocessing ............................................................. 16 4.3 Impact of metal contamination .................................................................. 16 4.4 Impact of plastics that sink with PET.......................................................... 17 4.5 Impact of coloured particles ...................................................................... 18 4.6 Impact of label adhesives ......................................................................... 19 4.7 Impact of inks from labels and sleeves ....................................................... 20 4.8 Summary of contaminant effects on rPET quality ........................................ 20 5.0 rPET quality standards and testing ............................................................. 22 5.1 Quality testing during PET reprocessing ..................................................... 22 5.2 Testing protocols used by rPET converters ................................................. 22 6.0 Industry protocols for testing rPET flake and pellet quality ....................... 24 7.0 Analysing the effects of contaminants on rPET discolouration ................... 25 7.1 rPET discolouration simulation trials ........................................................... 25 7.1.1 Effects of PVC on rPET discolouration .............................................. 27 7.2 Impact of coloured particles on rPET discolouration .................................... 29 7.3 Impact of particle size and presence of fines on rPET discolouration ............. 32 7.4 Separation of small particles and potential PET material yield loss ................ 35 7.5 Summary of results .................................................................................. 36 8.0 Functional additives for improved rPET colour and clarity ......................... 37 9.0 Large scale trials ........................................................................................ 41 9.1 Anson Packaging sheet extrusion trial using screened flake.......................... 41 9.2 TDX sheet extrusion trial using screened flake ............................................ 43 10.0 Assessing the impacts on rPET quality from thermoformed PET packs ...... 45 10.1 Issues around recyclability of PET trays...................................................... 45 10.2 PET pots tubs & cups ............................................................................... 46 11.0 Conclusions ................................................................................................ 49 12.0 Recommendations ...................................................................................... 52 13.0 References .................................................................................................. 54 Figures Figure 1: An example of metal, glass and acetal plastic components in trigger packs, which will contaminate the PET flakes from the bottle. The PP/PE components will not cause any problems as they will float and be removed in the sink-float separation step, however the metal spring, a glass ball bearing shown in the ring and an acetal plastic plunger will cause contamination problems. ............................................................................................... 17 Figure 2: Example of silicone valves from sports drink PET bottle caps that sink in water and contaminate the PET flake stream. ................................................................................. 17 Improving food grade rPET quality for use in UK packaging 5

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