Impacts of compostable plastics on composting and recycling
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Impacts of Compostable Plastics on Composting and Recycling. David Cornell Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR). APR Who we are. APR is the trade association of 90+% of the capacity in the plastic bottle recycling industry.

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Impacts of Compostable Plastics on Composting and Recycling

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Impacts of compostable plastics on composting and recycling

Impacts of Compostable Plastics on Composting and Recycling

David Cornell

Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR)


Apr who we are

APRWho we are

  • APR is the trade association of 90+% of the capacity in the plastic bottle recycling industry.

  • Our members focus on PET and HDPE bottles (96% of bottles), but also reclaim LDPE and PP and have interests in other resins.


Impacts of compostable plastics on composting and recycling

APR

  • APR promotes Design for Recyclability guidelines for container design

  • APR has Guidance Documents to evaluate new packaging innovations

  • APR promotes plastics collection


Apr goal

APR Goal

  • The primary issue is SUPPLY

    More, good bottles (and film)


Recycled pet uses

Recycled PET Uses

  • 43% of R-PET used for fiber, typically carpet

  • 36% of R-PET used for bottle and film packaging, including food contact

  • 16% of R-PET used for strapping

  • Rest includes engineering resin compounds for appliances and auto parts


Recycled hdpe uses

Recycled HDPE Uses

  • 43% R-HDPE used for bottles (non-food)

  • 23% R-HDPE used for pipe

  • 11% R-HDPE used for automotive

  • Rest includes lumber, lawn & garden, crates/pallets/pails and films


Compostable plastics

Compostable Plastics

  • Recycled plastics are often used for DURABLE applications. Including degradables is often forbidden.

  • BUT, not every plastic application will be recycled.

  • SOMETIMES the most efficient solid waste option is to compost the plastic with other materials


Can we gather together

Can We ‘Gather Together’?

  • Please, Do Not

  • Careful planning is necessary to be sure compostable plastics do not end up in the recycled plastic stream

  • Separate Collection, Please


Compatible

Compatible?

  • Most plastics are snobs and do not mix well with others.

    • PVC and PET are incompatible

    • PLA and PET are incompatible

    • PP and PE are often incompatible

  • Mixed plastics are low valued for recycling.

  • Should isolate resins for quality and value.


What about degradable additives

What about Degradable Additives?

  • If they work, the concept is not helpful to durable and food applications next use.

  • No way to isolate; all bottles suspect

  • The potential for negative impact is huge until, if possible, ‘no harm’ is shown. Failures mean liabilities, maybe injuries

  • Testing must include the service life of recycled products

    (25 years for carpet, 9 years for strapping).


Degradable pet

Degradable PET?

  • Recycling rate for PET CRV containers in California: 62%

  • Michigan redemption rate: 97%

  • Degradation unnecessary


Life cycle analysis

Life Cycle Analysis

  • Recycling spreads Inherent Energy and burdens over multiple uses.

  • Composting loses Inherent Energy after one use.

  • LCI’s are likely to favor recycling IF recycling is practical.


Pet lca

PET LCA

  • Energy use relates to emissions

  • Energy:

    • Inherent: 30 M Joule/kg

      • Captured with recycling, lost with composting. Partly captured with heat recovery

    • Process and transport: 40 M Joule/kg

      • Lost when polymer made

  • 1 use = 70, 2 uses= 42, 3 uses = 33


Recycling 101

RECYCLING 101

Success requires four prerequisites:

  • Enough, good, identifiable raw material

    (300-400 million pounds annually in USA)

    (consistent with tolerable contaminants)

    CRITICAL MASS OF SUPPLY

  • Processes to convert raw material to product

  • Products of sufficient value to return a profit

  • Investment


Next in plastics recycling

Next in Plastics Recycling

  • Today: bottles and PE films

  • Tomorrow:

    • Non-bottle rigid packaging

    • More flexible films

    • Foam: packaging and other

    • More automobile plastics and carpeting

    • More appliance plastics

    • More pipe, gutters, siding, cable wrap


Thanks

Thanks


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