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Degradable film hits recyclate quality, study claims

Europe – Degradable plastic film contents as low as 2% can have a ‘significant impact’ on the quality of plastic recyclates, according to a new study commissioned by Brussels-based trade body European Plastics Converters (EuPC).

Focusing on four different mixtures of degradable plastic bags and one virgin LDPE recycling material, tests were conducted over a six-month period during which more than 9.45 tonnes of plastic carrier bags were processed and in excess of 3700 measurements were taken.

Although it was possible to process all of the materials, the results indicated that, even in proportions as low as 2%, degradable plastic films had a marked adverse impact on the quality of the plastic recyclates. ‘These impacts are not only detrimental in terms of mechanical properties of the recycled material, but also involve visual impacts on the newly-produced film,’ states the EuPC.

The organisation has called on legislators and waste management authorities across Europe to push for increased separation and collection of degradable plastics.

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