Plastics Recyclers Europe has updated the documents used for the characterisation of the waste arriving at the sorting centres and recycling facilities in Europe. The new set of documents expands and replaces the bales characterisation guidelines dating from 2017 which then covered seven different streams.
Now called ‘recycling input characterisation guiding requirements’, the documents have been developed by Plastics Recyclers Europe based on the expertise of European plastics recyclers. The aim is to foster and increase the quality of plastics recycling.
The documents provide an information benchmark and a harmonised system for characterising the recyclers’ input, guiding the European market towards efficient, sustainable plastics waste management. The new recycling input characterisation guiding requirements specify the main properties that define the type, origins and characteristics of the sorted waste, levels of impurities, means of transportation and supplier information.
The documents can be used both by the sorting centres and the recycling facilities to verify the reliability of suppliers and, along with the contractually agreed specifications, to characterise the content of the bales. Furthermore, they can serve as an information benchmark in the process of checking the quality of the bales.
The guidelines are now available for: PE and PP films, PE-HD containers, rigid PP, PS packaging, rigid and flexible PVC, WEEE and ELV, and those for clear, clear-blue, light blue and coloured PET waste.
Obviously, the success of these guidelines depends on the wide-spread uptake by the industry. Users of the guidelines as well as stakeholders are encouraged to provide feedback on their experience in working with them.
As the industry evolves and as individual companies advance towards a circular economy, the guiding documents will have to be adjusted based on individual needs and the market changes. However, these are guidelines are an additional step towards a harmonised and well-established secondary raw materials market in Europe.