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PETRA creates model to encourage PET resin innovation

By Joe Whitworth , 17-Oct-2012
Last updated the 17-Oct-2012 at 22:39 GMT

The PET Resin Association (PETRA) has launched a model to evaluate resin variations in terms of likely market presence and impact on the quality of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

PETRA said that the current approach creates artificially restrictive barriers that can preclude the introduction of resin improvements and make product differentiation difficult.

The model provides criteria for testing, evaluating and ensuring the recyclability of newly developed PET resins used in manufacturing PET bottles and containers.

Improved PET collection rates, advanced recycling technologies, and growing demand for sustainable re-use and recycling of raw materials have underscored the importance of fostering a recycling system that can incorporate innovation while ensuring safety and quality, said PETRA.  

Current guidelines

The voluntary PETRA Model allows for testing innovations levels of 2% and 10% and includes criteria for testing at the more robust levels of 25% and 50%. 

PETRA said the model was created after 2009 negotiations broke down with the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) and the recyclability protocol of the European PET Bottle Platform (EPBP) was too problematic to adapt to the US market.

With neither the APR nor the EPBP recyclability documents meeting the specific needs of PET stakeholders in North America, PETRA began to design a voluntary recyclability model that combined key features of the two protocols to create a forward-looking recyclability document that focused on real-market resin performance and evaluation needs of the North American PET value chain,” said PETRA.

“The PETRA Recyclability & Innovation Model is the result of that effort.”

Test protocol

The model includes a test protocol, a dispersion assessment based on the results, the provision of control resins and annual test monitoring of the combined virgin PET stream.

The association said upon the prevalent use of the model it would fund annual third-party testing of the combined virgin PET resin stream to monitor its on-going integrity.

In their definition of test blends, PETRA said Blend B and Blend C should be selected respectively so that an innovation is tested at 2% and 10%, or 10% and 25%, or 25% and 50%.

“We believe the PETRA Model will increase both innovation and recyclability testing by focusing on real-market resin performance and the evaluation needs of producers, brand owners and recyclers,” said Ralph Vasami, executive director of PETRA.

“Confirming the viability of promising resin variants is vital to advancing PET resin science and the use of recycled material.”

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