Newly Formed Global Plastics Alliance To Harmonize Recycling Testing

North American and European associations seek a coordinated industry voice to create a Global Plastics Protocol.

The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE), and the European PET Bottle Platform (EPBP) recently formed the Global Plastics Outreach Alliance with a goal of harmonizing design guides and testing protocols, and serve as a coordinated industry voice to create a Global Plastics Protocol.

“All of our organizations have developed testing protocols to determine the recyclability of a package or innovation,” says Steve Alexander, president of APR. He said with the increasing trend of consumer brand companies expanding their focus on sustainability, the group has identified “differences between our protocols, which may require a company to conduct three separate tests to achieve the same recyclability designation. We hope to clarify those differences and align all segments of our testing protocols.”

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Alexander said that this exercise will also allow them to provide information to the New Plastics Economy (NPE) program of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Ton Emans, president of Plastics Recyclers Europe, point out the importance of having a coordinated voice of the plastics recycling industry. “There has been a tremendous amount of work done to date that greatly improved the ability of a package or material to be recycled from a design and collection standpoint.”

Andreas Christel, who represents EPBP, pointed to PET recyclability tests as an example of the importance of the group effort. “In an ever-changing global economy, the last thing we need in the plastics recycling world is to make it more difficult for packaging engineers and designers to understand what protocol the innovation should address in order to assure recyclability. This effort will go a long way toward creating a truly global plastics recycling industry standard for certain resins.”