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Title: Separation and processing of plastic films

Abstract

A successful flexible plastic packaging (FPP) recycling process will require the best of technological development, conscientious industry strategy, an environmentally aware community and likely, governmental support and legislation. FPP is used in almost every industry and can have a wide range of physical and chemical characteristics that lead to the series of challenges encountered at current recycling facilities. FPP is typically a one-time use product, and makes up about 30% of municipal waste plastics (Davis, 2016). Due to its versatility and light weight nature, plastics are the second most commonly used packaging material next to corrugated board (WPO, 2008). Furthermore, FPP and glass are the most detrimental of recyclables to the success of recycling processes. While glass is known to jam conveyors and melt in some separations at recovery facilities, FPP is far more burdensome and challenges the separation processes at recycling facilities. In the U.S. over 250 M tons of solid trash is generated each year, about 32 M tons consisting of plastic (Sandford, 2016; EPA, 2015b). 8.7 M tons of FPP was produced in 2013 in the U.S. (Sandford, 2016) with only 7.5% of FPP being recycled currently (EPA, 2015a). Of the material that is being recycled, 83%more » originated from commercial sources with 51% of it being clear polyethylene (PE) stretch wrap and poly bags, 20% consisting of mixed color PE stretch wrap films and 12% PE agricultural films (Moore Recycling Associates, 2017). Of the remaining recycled films, 16% originated from consumer sources as PE retail bags, sacks and wraps collected at store and consumer drop off centers. Only 1% of recycled PE films were obtained from curbside recycling programs and processed through material recovery facilities (MRFs). Other types of films such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polypropylene (PP) are essentially not recycled. Only 43% of the recycled FPP is truly recycled back into films/sheets, 44% is down-gauged into plastic composite lumber and the remaining material goes to uses such as marine and agricultural products, crates, buckets and pallets (Moore Recycling associations, 2017).« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
OSTI Identifier:
1468644
Report Number(s):
INL/EXT-18-45484-Rev000
TRN: US1902582
DOE Contract Number:  
AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
99 GENERAL AND MISCELLANEOUS; flexible plastic packaging; recycling

Citation Formats

Reed, David W., Lacey, Jeffrey A., and Thompson, Vicki S. Separation and processing of plastic films. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.2172/1468644.
Reed, David W., Lacey, Jeffrey A., & Thompson, Vicki S. Separation and processing of plastic films. United States. doi:10.2172/1468644.
Reed, David W., Lacey, Jeffrey A., and Thompson, Vicki S. Tue . "Separation and processing of plastic films". United States. doi:10.2172/1468644. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1468644.
@article{osti_1468644,
title = {Separation and processing of plastic films},
author = {Reed, David W. and Lacey, Jeffrey A. and Thompson, Vicki S.},
abstractNote = {A successful flexible plastic packaging (FPP) recycling process will require the best of technological development, conscientious industry strategy, an environmentally aware community and likely, governmental support and legislation. FPP is used in almost every industry and can have a wide range of physical and chemical characteristics that lead to the series of challenges encountered at current recycling facilities. FPP is typically a one-time use product, and makes up about 30% of municipal waste plastics (Davis, 2016). Due to its versatility and light weight nature, plastics are the second most commonly used packaging material next to corrugated board (WPO, 2008). Furthermore, FPP and glass are the most detrimental of recyclables to the success of recycling processes. While glass is known to jam conveyors and melt in some separations at recovery facilities, FPP is far more burdensome and challenges the separation processes at recycling facilities. In the U.S. over 250 M tons of solid trash is generated each year, about 32 M tons consisting of plastic (Sandford, 2016; EPA, 2015b). 8.7 M tons of FPP was produced in 2013 in the U.S. (Sandford, 2016) with only 7.5% of FPP being recycled currently (EPA, 2015a). Of the material that is being recycled, 83% originated from commercial sources with 51% of it being clear polyethylene (PE) stretch wrap and poly bags, 20% consisting of mixed color PE stretch wrap films and 12% PE agricultural films (Moore Recycling Associates, 2017). Of the remaining recycled films, 16% originated from consumer sources as PE retail bags, sacks and wraps collected at store and consumer drop off centers. Only 1% of recycled PE films were obtained from curbside recycling programs and processed through material recovery facilities (MRFs). Other types of films such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polypropylene (PP) are essentially not recycled. Only 43% of the recycled FPP is truly recycled back into films/sheets, 44% is down-gauged into plastic composite lumber and the remaining material goes to uses such as marine and agricultural products, crates, buckets and pallets (Moore Recycling associations, 2017).},
doi = {10.2172/1468644},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {5}
}

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