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PET-wrap consortium targets ‘win-win’ scenario

United States – In order to ‘identify solutions to the recent issues surrounding polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and full-wrap labels in the recycle stream’, US-based Eastman Chemical Company has established a consortium that will ‘dig further’ into the matter.

Approximately 80% of full-wrap labels in North America are found on PET containers – the most recycled plastic on the market, Eastman states. ‘As full-wrap labels are becoming more popular because they offer increased shelf appeal, many PET bottles also have been down-gauged,’ it explains. ‘The combination of these two elements has exacerbated the challenge recyclers face in processing these PET containers.’

While some US recyclers are able successfully to process the PET containers with full-wrap labels, the so-called ‘full-wrap label consortium’ – which comprises more than 30 members across the value chain – will focus on finding a ‘holistic recycling solution’ that provides a ‘win-win’ scenario for everyone in the industry. According to Eastman, a combination of multiple solutions is the most likely outcome, such as: floatable labels; label perforation; higher availability of de-labelling equipment; and consumers removing the label leading up to collection.

‘At the upcoming February meeting, consortium members will close some of the knowledge gaps that currently exist and continue to assess potential solutions and how the solutions might work together best,’ asserts Holli Whitt, Eastman’s Market Development Manager, Sustainability for Specialty Plastics.

Spanning resin producers, film extruders and equipment manufacturers, among others, the consortium includes companies such as Plastics Technologies Inc., SleeveCo, Accraply, Printpack Inc. and Axon Corporation.

For more information, visit: www.eastman.com

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