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American plastics innovators roll up their sleeves

The US Association of Plastic Recyclers celebrated four innovative companies at the recent APR Plastics Recycling Showcase. These are; Circular Polymers, MCC, PolyOne Corp. and SKC Inc.

The APR showcase was held during the annual Plastics Recycling Conference and Trade Show in Maryland from 11-13 March. Each year, the association selects four US trailblazers that ‘have a positive effect on plastics collection and recycling’.

Who are the best?

One of the businesses showcased this year was Circular Polymers. The Californian company recycles carpeting using Broadview Group International’s rotary impact separator. This allows it to mechanically disassemble the carpet into its primary components: face fiber, backing fiber and adhesive. Circular Polymers creates clean low-ash fibers or polymer pellets.

Another firm in the top 4 was SKC Inc. The US subsidiary of South Korea-based SK Group develops washable ink shrink sleeves. These are made with SKC’s crystallisable PET copolymer film that is compatible with the polyethylene terephthalate bottle recycling stream.

Also, Cincinnati-based MCC was praised for its deseaming shrink-sleeve labels. These feature a special seam adhesive that is designed to release its bond when exposed to a mild caustic solution in the whole bottle wash portion of the recycling process. Additionally, they improve the recyclability of PET containers by reducing misidentification of PET containers during sorting and opportunities for contamination in recovered PET flake.

Not least, PolyOne Corp. was applauded for its SmartHeat RHC reheat technology for PET bottles. The Cleveland-based company created an additive that is designed to be added at the injection-molding phase as a liquid dispersion. In the recycling process, the additive aids in the reduction of yellowing. Besides, it allows for increased recycled PET content.

Evolution for plastics

‘Innovation in packaging design and recycling technology continue to drive the growth of plastics recycling,’ comments John Standish, APR technical director. He adds: ‘These and other innovations are particularly critical at a time when recyclers are dealing with a tremendous evolution in packaging design and the evolving ton of material in the recycling stream.’

APR president Steve Alexander underlines: ‘As plastic packaging continues to come under attack, it is innovations like these that exemplify how the recycling industry is continually working to address the issues of sustainability and to reinforce the message that recycling is the key to plastic packaging and container sustainability.’

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