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A barrier to recycling? (Plastics).

Makers of PET packaging for beverages have been marketing bottles that feature added layers to improve product protection. But will these "barriers" also prove to be a barrier to the cost-effective recycling of plastic bottles?

That is the concern expressed in a recent report from the Plastic Redesign Project, led by Peter Anderson, Madison, Wisc. The organization says it represents the interests of state and local recycling officials.

"The introduction of non-PET material may represent a difficult-to-remove contaminant that could adversely affect recycling," says the report.

Singled out are amber plastic beer bottles now being used by major American breweries. "There may be increases in costs and a deterioration in revenues due to the problems separating and marketing amber bottles unless designers engineer around that problem."

Two issues come into play:

* Sorting the amber bottles and finding a suitable market

* And whether the addition of a barrier material to clear beverage bottles downgrades clear PET flake as a commodity.

The report states that there are currently no markets for amber PET bottles beyond "low-end black dyed applications that pay less than today's markets" for recycled PET containers.

Concerning clear bottles with barriers, the nylon material being used by some manufacturers may cause a yellowing of recycled plastic flake that would not be acceptable for higher end markets, according to the report.

This contamination could come at a bad time, since Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, has recently committed to using 10 percent recycled content PET by 2005, "if uncontaminated, bottle-quality supplies of recycled PET can be maintained."

The full 75-page report from the Plastic Redesign Project can be ordered via or by contacting Packaging Strategies publications at (800) 524-7225.
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Title Annotation:PET bottles with extra layers to improve product protection
Comment:A barrier to recycling? (Plastics).(PET bottles with extra layers to improve product protection)
Publication:Recycling Today
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2001
Previous Article:Wait and see. (Paper).
Next Article:Scrap plastics directory available. (Plastics).

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