Paper on PE film recycling released by PRE / RecyClass recyclability tool being developed for mono- and multilayer plastic films
Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE, Brussels / Belgium; has released a publication titled “Flexible Polyethylene Recycling in Europe – Accelerating the Transition Towards Circular Economy”. The paper includes information on prerequisites for increasing the recycling of flexible PE (widely used in food and non-food applications) into high-quality recyclate while also considering sustainability and cost effectiveness. “Plastic film waste is still perceived as a demanding and difficult stream to treat, however, we in Europe have proven that even stretch film recycling is possible,” said Ton Emans, PRE's president.

LLDPE/LDPE consumption by converters in the EU, Norway and Switzerland amounted to around 9m t in 2017, according to PlasticsEurope (Brussels; figures – see of 16.01.2019. PRE notes that LLDPE/LDPE is the number two resin processed in the EU and has a high potential to be recycled – the current LLDPE/LDPE recycling rate is approximately 31%.

The main bottlenecks specified in PRE's paper include poor collection rates and low-quality input materials as well as a lack of design for recycling. Improvements are needed, such as harmonised collection and sorting processes introduced at the EU level, which would increase the quantity and quality of collected waste. Plastic packaging should also be designed to be recycled easily, as structures and materials that are incompatible with mechanical recycling processes can cause recycling line disruptions. Specific design for recycling guidelines would help this when manufacturing a product.

In addition, more investments in recycling and sorting technologies as well as R&D are needed to improve recyclate quality. In an optimal sorting centre, PRE says plastic packaging would be automatically sorted through consecutive steps that refine the streams. Contamination can be separated while the material is sorted according to polymer type and by colour when required.
RecyClass tools under development
PRE's RecyClass ( platform is an online tool that is being developed to assess the recyclability of plastic packaging. RecyClass includes evaluation protocols for PE films – see of 11.09.2018. Additional protocols for other polymer materials, including multilayer flexibles, are currently under development. The aim is to have a Europe-wide standardised tool for assessing packaging material recyclability in existing streams. Members of the platform include Avery Dennison, Constantia Flexibles, Danone, Dow Chemical, Essity, Ferrero, Greiner, Leonhard Kurz, Mondi, Orkla, P&G, RPC, Suez and Unilever.

Plastics Recyclers Europe also has a “Circular Plastics Journey” cartoon video series. It outlines the stages in the life of plastics, from usage to the production of recycled products.
01.07.2019 [242784-0]
Published on 01.07.2019
Kunststoffrecycling: Info von Plastics Recyclers Europe zu PE-FolienGerman version of this article...

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