APR announces new design guidelines for PE film packaging


The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) announced an updated and improved version of the APR Design Guide for Plastics Recyclability for PE film packaging. Developed over the past year by a working group of the APR Film Recovery Committee, the updated guidelines reflect the consensus of a diverse group of stakeholders, including film recyclers, processors and manufacturers. brands.

“These changes are consistent with our efforts to ensure that the APR Design Guide has an impact as an essential reference document that brand owners can use to meet the recycling requirements and standards of the global market,” said Steve Alexander, President and CEO of APR. “With the wave of sustainability commitments by owners of global brands, more detailed design advice fills an urgent need. “

The revised guidelines include:

  • A rewrite of the Basic Materials section to recognize the diversity of technologies that make up PE polymers and their impact on recycling compatibility. New guidelines relate to EVA copolymers and ethylene copolymer ionomers. The APR design guide also recommends a threshold for “preferred” materials at a minimum of 90% PE and copolymers by weight of the total package structure for full compatibility with mechanical PE recycling processes, in order to to maintain the quality and value of the final recyclate.
  • Recognition of SiOx and AlOx barriers as “preferred” materials, and further discussion of additives and barrier coatings.
  • An in-depth discussion of inks, primers, coatings and laminating adhesives. Tested inks, primers, coatings and laminating adhesives which disperse into the final polymer without impacting PCR or the quality of the final product are recognized as preferred.
  • A more detailed list of additives, coatings and other film packaging improvements that require testing to determine recycle compatibility.

The newly released guide also highlights five innovative PE film technologies that have received critical orientation recognition from APR and are commercially available. These innovations met the requirements of the RPA’s rigorous Critical Orientation Protocol, including testing and evaluation by a technical review committee.

“PE films and flexible packaging are a rapidly growing segment for consumer brands,” says Sandi Childs, director of films and flexible packaging at APR. “The ability to measure compatibility with recycling is vital to maintaining a clean flow of materials going to recyclers from retail store drop bins and potentially residential curbside collection in the future. “

The updates to the APR Design Guide for PE Films are part of a larger initiative to improve the capture and recovery of film-wrapped plastic packaging supported by the Film & Flexibles Coalition of The Recycling Partnership. Other goals of the APR and the Recycling Partnership are to encourage more residential film collection and recovery, to develop design guidelines for polypropylene films, and to research the suitability of selective recycling for plastic films.

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