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PET cans with metal lids contaminate recycling stream: APR

Houston, July 5, 2016 (PCW) -- Plastics cans with metal tops foul the recycling stream, rendering the entire can non-recyclable, the Association of Plastics Recyclers said today. The APR is urging caution to companies considering the use of plastic cans.

“There is a reason Maine, Illinois, and Minnesota imposed restrictions or bans on this type of packaging,” said Steve Alexander, Executive Director of APR. “A plastic can with a metal lid is a contaminant to PET recycling and not compatible with today’s material recovery and plastics reclamation systems.”

The state restrictions were imposed in response to production of plastic cans in the 1980s and their negative impact on the recycling process. These laws remain in effect today, and led many companies to withdraw support of this type of container.

Although the PET portion of the can may be recyclable, the metal lid is seamed onto the PET, APR said. There are no practical solutions to separate the two materials in material recovery facilities (MRFs), rendering the entire container non-recyclable, according to the association.

“APR has already reached out to companies producing plastic cans to voice the concerns of the plastic recycling industry,” said Byron Geiger, President of Custom Polymers PET and Chairman of the APR PET Technical Committee. “Brand companies consistently require suppliers to provide evidence of compatibility with recycling. The APR works with companies to ensure this is possible, and offered this support in communication with plastic can manufacturers.”

The APR says it has created laboratory test methods used to assess the impact of new innovations to the recycling market as an integral part of its "APR Champions for Change" program. Companies use these tests to confirm that their innovations do not interfere with recycling. Once testing requirements are met, those companies receive APR Critical Guidance Recognition.

Click here for additional information about metal components or attachments on PET containers. -- Janet Link

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