Barrier: a material that is designed to prevent or significantly reduce the penetration of water, oils, water vapor or gases as desired. Barrier materials may serve to exclude or retain such elements without or within a package. Barriers often serve to extend the shelf life of food products.
Chemical Recycling: A process changing the chemical structure of plastic waste, converting it into shorter molecules, ready to be used for new chemical reactions.
Compatibilizer Additives: allows resins that would not normally blend, to ‘talk to each other’ and bond in a way that create enhanced performance when compared with either polymer individually. No ‘one-size-fits-all’ compatibilizer exists on the market today. For compatibilizers to work consistently, the recycle feed-stream itself has to be fairly consistent in resin composition.
Compostability: A 90% breakdown of products by microbes into CO2, water and nutrients within a six month timeframe and with no harmful residuals (EN 13432)
Conversion Technologies: refers to a wide array of technologies capable of changing molecules into different formats. Molecular change may be achieved through non-combustion thermal, chemical, or biological processes.
DownCycling: is the process of converting materials and products into new materials of lesser quality or with limited reuse ability.
End Market: refers to the final product after recovery. The product which then goes back into consumer re-use.
Engineered Fuel: material is pressed into pellets or cubes to be combusted as fuel in industrial boilers or power generation plants. Engineered fuel is seen as an alternative to partially replace primary fuels such as coal or biomass.
Extended Producer Responsibility: a policy approach under which producers are given a significant responsibility–financial and/or physical–for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products.
Gasification: a process that reduces plastics into synthetic gasses by submitting them to high temperatures (800-1200c) and controlled amounts of oxygen and steam. The higher temperatures and addition of oxygen makes gasification different from pyrolysis resulting in an alternative end product. Synthetic gases can be used for energy and electricity as well as converted into methanol, ethanol and other chemicals.
Lamination: a combination of two or more materials adhered together in order to create one structure. The lamination of multiple materials is intended to improve technical performance.
Material Recovery Facility: are specialized facilities that receive, separate and prepare recyclable materials. Upon sortation these materials are sold and sent onwards to processing facilities.
Mechanical Recycling: refers to operations that aim to recover plastics waste via mechanical processes (grinding, washing, separating, drying, re-granulating and compounding). In mechanical recycling polymers stay intact.
Multi-material Film: films comprised of more than one layer of similar or different polymers. May also be referred to as multi-layered film, or depending on the process used to join layers–multi-laminate film.
Pyrolysis: a process that breaks down plastics into hydrocarbons by submitting them to high temperatures (350-800C) and a lack of oxygen. Products of pyrolysis include oils, waxes, metals and a sludge or carbon char.
Tensile Strength: the resistance of a material to breaking when stretched.
Upcycling: is the process of transforming by-products or waste materials, into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.
Waste-to-Energy: is the process of combusting/burning waste in order to generate electricity.
Recovery System Analysis
- Analysis of Flexible Film Plastics Packaging Diversion Systems (Canadian Improvement Fund)
- Markets and Sorting Assessment: Oregon Plastics Recovery Assessment (Oregon Department of Environmental Quality)
- Flexible Packaging: Less Resources, Less Footprint, More Value (Flexible Packaging Association)
- Plastics and Sustainability: A Valuation of Environmental Benefits, Costs and Opportunities for Continuous Improvement (TruCost)
- Collection and Recycling of Household Plastic Film Packaging (WRAP UK)
- The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics. (Ellen MacArthur Foundation)