PET sleeves receive temporary recyclability approval

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Photo by Enol The packaging industry should develop a standardised perforation concept.

Petcore Europe’s ODR working group, which works on recycling of opaque or difficult plastic items, has acquired a 3-year temporary endorsement for perforated sleeves on household and personal care (HPC) PET bottles. 

The approval has been granted by the European PET Bottle Platform (EBPB), a voluntary industry initiative that provides PET bottle design guidelines for recycling and evaluates PET bottle packaging solutions. 

The Petcore working group has been working on increased recyclability of sleeved PET bottles, under the lead of the its chair Gian De Belder, P&G. As part of the effort, the group has come up with the solution to use perforated recyclable sleeves which are removable by consumers. 

Removing the sleeves will make the sorting of waste PET bottles easier. 

The EBPB has approved the working group’s solution on a number of conditions, among which the stipulation that the sleeves have a double perforation. This feature will enable the easy identification and removal of the sleeves by consumers. 

The EBPB has also demanded that the packaging industry should develop a standardised perforation concept. The concept should address both functionality for easy tearing off, and design for “immediate recognition”. 

Additionally, PET bottles with perforated sleeves must carry a standardised message for the consumer asking them to remove the sleeve from the bottle, and to place both the bottle and the sleeve in the collection bin. 

The packaging industry is also required to launch communication campaigns to engage consumers and provide data on the effectiveness of the campaigns. 

The EPBP also requires the PET bottle enclosed by the sleeve to be compliant with its guidelines for transparent clear/light blue bottles. 

The sleeve should also allow the recognition of the PET bottle, by polymer, for sorting purposes, in case it has failed to have been removed.

The design of the sleeve – including the materials and inks – must allow it to float in hot water and separate from PET flakes in a sink/float separation step. Printed sleeves must not bleed inks into the washing water.

"Petcore Europe, EPBP, Plastics Recyclers Europe and other associations worked together to align the industry and improve the design-for-recycling of HPC PET bottles," said Petcore Gian De Belder about the approval.

The three-year period will be used to assess the packaging industry commitment in adopting the solution and to measure consumer engagement in removing the sleeves, Petcore Europe said in a 15 Feb statement. 

With the conditional approval, the next step will require the involved industries to work together to meet the conditions, Petcore Europe added.

Petcore Europe is the association representing the complete PET value chain in Europe since 1993.

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