Design Factors Affecting Post-Consumer Plastic Packaging Recyclability: A Review
Puentes Gruezo, Maribel (2019)
Puentes Gruezo, Maribel
All rights reserved. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
Plastic has become the preferred option of packaging material for a different array of household products from food to detergents. As plastics use increase concerns about their sustainability and environmental impact have been raised. The European Union strategy for plastics in a circular economy is one of the drivers behind the initiatives to improve packaging recyclability. Recycling is a key step towards materials circularity. The present work reviews briefly the current recycling methods: primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary. Mechanical recycling is the most ubiquitous type of recycling and is described with more detail. The material recovery facilities (MRF) sorts and re-process the plastic packaging waste using different technologies and steps. Automated near infrared (NIR) and sink/float sorting methods are the most relevant technologies for the recyclability factors and recommendations presented in this work. The general factors affecting post-consumer plastics packaging recyclability are also described. A literature review was conducted to identify and compile recommendations for the design of the most commonly found plastic materials used in post-consumer packaging: PE, PP, PET, and PS. The recommendations are based on categories such as labels, inks, printing, closures, and coating. This thesis work provides scientific articles, reports and key documentation from the plastics industry as sources to support the compiled information.