RECYCLING
New guidelines for barrier polytheylene film / “RecyClass” tests show EVOH concentrations compatible for recycling
RecyClass helps evaluate the recyclability of PE films and other plastic packaging (Photo: PRE)
Recent tests carried out with flexible PE film containing an EVOH barrier showed that the films’ recyclability depends on the volume weight of the barrier. The work carried out by independent laboratories for “RecyClass” (www.recyclass.eu), an initiative of Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE, Brussels / Belgium; www.plasticsrecyclers.eu) founded in 2013, found that an EVOH barrier up to 5% of the total weight of the film has only a minor impact on the recycled end-product. A higher percentage, however, has an immediately visible impact on the extrusion process, manifesting itself in a yellowing of the material, along with a net increase of haze as well as gels and specks and frequent bubble breakage.

The industry platform, which is aimed at helping the plastics value chain find the best design for plastic packaging products with an eye to improving recyclability, says the findings will have repercussions for PE film recycling guidelines, and the RecyClass tool will be updated accordingly. In future, an EVOH concentration below or equal to 5% by weight will be regarded as having limited recycling compatibility and graded as class B1 on a scale of A to F. This new rating indicates that the packaging has “minor recyclability issues,” but a concentration above 5% by weight will be treated in future as not compatible with recycling.

Functional barriers in plastic packaging film are designed to protect the goods from unfavourable external conditions including exposure to UV light, oxygen, vapour or odour, thus prolonging shelf life, but the barrier layers can have a detrimental impact on the quality of the recycled packaging at its end-of-life stage. The initiative’s RecyClass platform established in 2018 provides information for packaging manufacturers on how to adapt product design and production to comply with the European Commission’s circular economy guidelines – see Plasteurope.com of 07.06.2018.
14.11.2019 Plasteurope.com [243864-0]
Published on 14.11.2019
Recyclingfähigkeit: PE-Folien mit EVOH-Barriereschichten im TestGerman version of this article...

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