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Circular Polymers recycles plastic liner into high-grade pellets

California-based company Circular Polymers has launched a recycling solution for PET release liner in close collaboration with labels and packaging association TLMI.

For the past year, TLMI has been working to qualify liner from association members as a supply stream into the recycling process of Circular Polymers. The latter is a pioneer in transforming post-consumer discarded carpet into new polymer raw materials. Their efforts have been successful: Circular Polymers has approved the liner as a material that can be ‘fully recycled’.

The Californian company says it recycles the material into high-quality PET pellets that can be used in multiple industries. A release liner is a paper or plastic-based film sheet used to prevent a sticky surface from prematurely adhering.

Viable solution

David Bender, Circular Polymer’s ceo says: ‘We believe all release liner in the US will be recycled within the next five years.’ Rosalyn Bandy, TLMI’s director of environmental strategies says PET liner recycling has been a challenge for label converters and sustainability-minded customers for quite some time.

‘This achievement is a tremendous and exciting opportunity both for TLMI and for our industry. This is a viable solution we have been seeking for many years,’ says Bandy. ‘Given the price PET pellets command in the marketplace, freight and carrying costs are eliminated – making this process cost neutral for both label converters and their customers.’

In order to ensure optimised recycling of the liner, Circular Polymers has detailed some specifications:
• Minimum volume of labels still attached to PET liner – fewer than 100 labels per 2 000 pounds [0.9 tonnes].
Material should be placed loose or rewound without a core in a Gaylord triplewall corrugated pallet box.
• Baled material is accepted provided no cores are included.
• Other methods of packaging require pre-approval.
• PE bags or PE wrap not eligible – must be PET liner only.
• No paper, wood or garbage can be present in the containers.
• Containers need to be in good condition (they cannot be split or shrink-wrapped together).
• One container is needed for evaluation. Once approved, the first load will then be trialled.

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