New bale grading specs seek to improve recycled PET quality

04/27/2015

The National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) has developed new bale quality grading specifications for postconsumer polyethylene terephthalate (EPT) bales. Designed to provide incentives to suppliers to improve recycled PET quality, the "grades" are defined based on the PET fraction of an incoming material load. To accompany the gradings, NAPCOR has also developed a PET material test audit; both have been passed on to the Association of Postconsumer Plastics Recyclers (APR) where they are expected to undergo final review prior to integration into the model bale specification for PET.

"Members of NAPCOR's Bale Quality Committee developed the gradings and bale audit test to send a message to the marketplace that the PET reclaiming industry needs better PET bales. We are willing to reward quality and we've developed a way to measure it," said PET reclaimer Byron Geiger, president of Custom Polymers PET (Athens, AL), and member of both NAPCOR and the APR. "PET reclaimers have struggled with poor bale quality and declining yields in recent years. These new specifications give us a way to provide specific feedback to the material recovery facilities we buy from and encourage them to improve quality."

The grindings and audit test method were developed by PET reclaimers using NAPCOR bale composition data, as well as the results of material audits performed at their facilities in the United States and Canada. Gradings are based on the weight of PET containers in a given PET sample, taken as a percentage of the weight of the total sample, or the "PET fraction." They include A, B, C, and F grades with PET fractions ranging from 94%T and up in an "A" grade to 72% and below an "F" grade.
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