- The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) is urging caution over the recyclability of some plastic cans, saying PET cans with metal lids are contaminates to the PET recycling stream.
- APR notes that the rim of the metal lid is seamed into the plastic of the can, making the materials inseparable and therefore nonrecyclable. Due to these challenges, Maine, Illinois, and Minnesota have all imposed restrictions on such packaging.
- The APR Design Guide for Plastics Recyclability outlines recommendations for packaging design and proper disposal methods to increase plastic recycling and decrease such contamination.
Contamination is an inevitable obstacle in the recycling industry, and avoiding this obstacle requires proper education, manufacturing, and disposal of products. APR tries to tackle contamination through its "APR Champions for Change" program which tests products for recyclability, however producers need willingly participate and work with APR to create a change in the industry.
"APR has already reached out to companies producing plastic cans to voice the concerns of the plastic recycling industry," said APR PET Technical Committee Chairman Byron Geiger, as reported in Recycling Today. "Brand companies consistently require suppliers to provide evidence of compatibility with recycling. The APR works with companies to ensure this is possible and offered this support in communication with plastic can manufacturers."
Other materials such as flexible film have caused contamination in the waste stream, motivating officials to get involved in various industry programs such as WRAP, which works to efficiently recover plastic film. Contamination associated with organic waste is also a common issue across the industry.