Petcore Europe Working Group’s Solution to Sorting Issues in Recycling Plants

Consumer Removable Sleves Could Improve Recyclability of PET Bottles

Perforated sleeves for Household and Personal Care (HPC) PET bottles which can be removed by the consumers have been touted as a potential solution to the problems in sorting via Near Infrared (NIR) and optical detectors.

Perforated sleeves for PET Household and Personal Care (HPC) PET bottles which can be removed by the consumers have been touted as a potential solution to the problems in sorting  via Near Infrared (NIR) and optical detectors in waste plastic packaging sorting and recovery plants by Petcore Europe's ODR Working Group.

The trade association, which represents the complete PET value chain in Europe, recently held the Petcore Europe Conference, at which it made the official announcement that the Technical Committee of the European PET Bottle Platform (EBPB) has awarded a temporary endorsement to full body sleeves used on Household and Personal Care (HPC) PET bottles for a period of three years, provided the following conditions are met: 

The sleeve is equipped with double perforations which is designed to be easily identified and removed by consumers. 

The packaging Industry develops a standardised perforation concept, both in terms of functionality (easy tearing off operation) and design (immediate recognition), irrespective of the type and content of the PET bottle.

To support the above, PET bottles with perforated sleeves must carry a standardised message for the consumer asking them to remove the sleeve from the bottle, and then place both the bottle and the sleeve in the collection bin or bag for recycling.

The packaging Industry must support consumer cooperation with communication campaigns and provide data on the effectiveness of the consumer engagement.

The PET bottle behind the sleeve must be compliant with the EPBP guidelines for transparent clear/light blue bottles and the sleeve should allow the recognition of the PET bottle, by polymer, if the sleeve is still present on the bottle before sorting.

The sleeve design (materials and inks) must allow it to float in hot water and separate from PET flakes in a sink/float separation step.

Printed sleeves must not bleed inks into the washing water.

Petcore Europe ODR Working Group Chairman Gian De Belder spoke of a big step forward: “The approval is a great example of a cross-value chain approach. Petcore Europe, EPBP, Plastics Recyclers Europe and other associations worked together to align the industry and improve the design-for-recycling of HPC PET bottles."

Next Steps         
Now that the conditional approval was achieved, the involved industries will work together to meet the conditions. Meetings between the Petcore Europe ODR Working GroupA.I.S.E and Cosmetics Europe are already planned in the upcoming weeks.

The three-year period will be used to assess the packaging industry commitment in adopting the solution and to measure consumer engagement in removing the sleeves.

You can view the official endorsement document HERE 

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