Working with Brand Owners and Recyclers to Achieve Recyclability Goals

APR Publishes PE Film Critical Guidance and Test Documents

A new testing protocol that determines whether film packaging is compatible with the current recycling infrastructure in North America has been developed by the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR).

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A new testing protocol that determines whether film packaging is compatible with the current recycling infrastructure in North America has been developed by the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR).

 The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) recently announced the publication of the PE Film Critical Guidance Test Protocol as an addition to The APR Design® Guide for Plastics Recyclability. The new test, resulting from extensive industry collaboration, measures the capability of innovative film packaging to be recycled into new thin film applications. 

“PE film and flexible packaging is a fast-growing segment for consumer brands,” stated Sandi Childs, APR’s Director of Films and Flexible Packaging.  “The ability to measure compatibility with recycling is vital to keeping a clean stream of materials flowing to recyclers from retail store drop-off bins.”

To achieve APR Critical Guidance Recognition, companies must first successfully complete the protocol with a 3rd party testing laboratory, and then present the results to APR for formal review and approval. Simply completing the test without APR final review does not allow a company to publicly present compliance with The APR Design® Guide for Plastics Recyclability.

Once approved by APR, companies are eligible to market their innovation as formally recognized by APR and compatible with current recycling infrastructure.

“Cleaner supply results in more efficient processing, lower cost, and higher quality PCR that ultimately delivers products consumers want to buy,” stated Jon Stephens, President of Natura PCR, LLC, an Avangard Innovative company that has recently expanded its capacity to recycle PE films and flexible packaging. “We rely on APR to establish the industry standard in recycling compatibility test protocols.” Stephens serves as the Chair of APR’s Film and Flexibles Technical Committee. “This test protocol was truly an effort that involved all participants in the PE film value chain.”

As the international trade association representing the plastics recycling industry, the APR said that it works to ensure that design resources accurately reflect the operations and technology in use by today’s North American plastics recycling infrastructure. APR is currently updating the PE Film Benchmark Test, a companion to the PE Film Critical Guidance Test Protocol, which will measure recycling compatibility with composite plastic lumber and thicker grade industrial films.

“These changes are consistent with our efforts to ensure that the APR Design® Guide has impact as the essential reference document that brand owners can use to meet the demands and recycling standards for the global marketplace,” commented Steve Alexander, President and CEO of APR. “With the surge of sustainability commitments by global brand owners, this newly released test protocol fills an urgent need.”

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