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by Patty Moore - Lane County · Plastics 101 and BioPlastics Primer ... • Injection molding •...

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Plastics 101 and BioPlastics Primer Recycled Presentation by Patty Moore Presented by Sarah Grimm, Lane County Waste Reduction Specialist For: Willamette Valley Sustainable Food Coalition Education Forum
  • Plastics 101

    and BioPlastics Primer

    Recycled Presentationby 

    Patty Moore

    Presented bySarah Grimm, Lane County Waste Reduction SpecialistFor: 

    Willamette Valley Sustainable Food Coalition Education Forum

  • [email protected]

    The Basics of Polymer Chemistry

    • A polymer is a chain of monomers usually made of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and/or silicon

    • Amorphous: no long‐range order or form, generally clear

    • Crystalline: distinct pattern, general opaque (higher crystallinity the less light can pass through)

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    The Basics of Polymer Chemistry

    • Thermoplastics: will remelt– Most packaging and consumer goods

    • Thermosets: cannot remelt – Durable products. Melamine, Urathane

  • Fact: an item is only recyclable if there is someone who will take it –and make use of it in the production of another product. 

    Fact: Numbers on plastics refer to only the base resin ingredient.  ‐Additional, PERMANENT changes occur in the manipulations that create the product—can’t be mixed with others. 

    Fact: Every community in the country has varying access to recycling opportunities



  • [email protected]

    Plastics by the Numbers

    • Clear, tough, heat resistant, good gas and moisture barrier properties• Bottles (extrude/blow molded), sheet, fiber, geotextiles, strapping

    Stiffness, ease of forming, resistance to chemicals and moisture, permeable to gas. Natural (homopolymer) or Pigmented (copolymer)

    Bottles, crates, bags, carts

    High Density Polyethylene

    Polyvinyl Chloride Transparency, chemical resistance, stability, weatherability, flow and

    insulatory (electrical), versatile, easily blended, grease and oil resistant Film, sheet and bottles

    Low Density Polyethylene Tough, flexible, transparent, ease of sealing, moisture barrier Film applications (bags, liners, wrap), caps, squeeze bottles

    Polyethylene terephthalate

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    • Chemical resistance, high melting point, ease of forming, low density, oil resistant

    • Bottles, tubs, fibers, large molded items,car battery cases, film• Also OPP ‐ oriented polypropylene

    More Plastics by the NumbersPolypropylene


    Versatile, clear, hard brittle, low melting point, poor barrier, ease of forming including foamed

    Food service items (“styrofoam”), utensils, CD cases, protective packaging, desk trays

    Most coded bottles and containers are multilayer except polycarbonate aka: lexan, nalgene and polylacticacid (PLA)

    #7 ‐ Other

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    Forming the Plastic Resins

    • Rotational molding• Vacuum forming

  • [email protected]

    • Extrusion through a die• Sheet via calendaring• Blown film

    • Extruded fibers and filaments

    • Injection molding• Blow molding

    Forming the Plastic Resins

  • Fact: an item is only recyclable if there is someone who will take it –and make use of it in the production of another product. 

    Fact: Numbers on plastics refer to only the base resin ingredient.  ‐Additional, PERMANENT changes occur in the manipulations that create the product—can’t be mixed with others. 

    Fact: Every community in the country has varying access to recycling opportunities



  • What’s  still in our WASTE?

    Distribution of Resin Sales and Captive use by Major Market

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    Strength in NumbersMANY plastics are

    technically recyclable and have market

    value----but are not generally known as

    recyclable---because of the challenges in

    collecting from disparate sources.

    (Cups from stadiums, medical plastics,

    lumber wrap)

  • [email protected]

    • PET = PET bottles• N HDPE = Natural HDPE bottles • C HDPE = Colored HDPE Bottles. Note: Specifications vary depending 

    on the buyer. Some buyers may allow the market mix of injection grade containers (no foamed PS); these buyers will discard all non‐olefin bottles and containers. 

    • Commingled Bottles and Containers = All bottles and containers (no foamed PS). Buyers generally expect approximately 40% PET bottles, 40% HDPE bottles and no more than 20% 3‐7 bottles and 1‐7 containers

    • Bulky HDPE = Large HDPE items (buckets, crates, toys, trays, furniture, bins, barrels etc...). This category is often referred to as “Injection HDPE” 

    • Plastic Film, bags, etc

    Recycling as a Commodity (Strength in Numbers - Bottles and Containers)

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    Challenges for Recyclers THERMOFORM PLASTIC Materials that use PET, look like PET bottles but soften and melt at 325°F --really hurt the PET drying process.

    Contaminants like lids, rings, labels

    PLA –Compostable (?) Plastics

    Challenges for Recyclers

  • Issue 2005  Contamination of successful recycling infrastructure.

  • Defining Bioplastics & Compostable Plastics

    Bioplastics =  whole category including  both made from biobased feed stocks and &/or can biologically degrade. Biobased =  made from plant based  raw materials.  Biobased may/maynot be biodegradable/recyclableBiodegradable  = will degrade due to biological activityBut biodegradable & compostable are not the same Compostable  = will decompose under certain conditions, over a given time ‐‐‐competing definitions

  • SPI – Society of Plastics Industry

    STEVE DAVIES @  http://compostingcouncil.org/2011‐compostable‐plastics‐symposium/

    “…growth in bio‐plastics demand is expected to increase 35‐40% annually…”

  • STEVE DAVIES @  http://compostingcouncil.org/2011‐compostable‐plastics‐symposium/



  • Recycle it?  or Compost?

    Issue # 1  Contamination of successful, sustainable recycling infrastructure.

    Fact: Every community in the country has varying access to recycling /compost opportunities

  • The  increasing number and variety of products labeled with terms such as “biobased,” “biodegradable,” and “compostable,” is causing consumer confusion. 

    Compostable Plastics 101, a white paper by the California Organics Council‐‐‐ posted to  www.lanecounty.org/eventrecycling

    issue #2:  Is it really Compostable? 

  • STEVE DAVIES @  http://compostingcouncil.org/2011‐compostable‐plastics‐symposium/

  • • American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has developed “Standard Specifications for Compostable Plastics” > ASTM D6400

  • • Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) has launched a “Compostable Logo” program for products that conform to the ASTM D6400 standard.  To comply, products must:– 1.  Biodegrade to carbon dioxide at a rate comparable to yard trimmings, food scraps and other compostable material

    – 2.  Disintegrate into small enough particles so no remnants remain that could clog screening equipment

    – 3.  Safely biodegrade leaving no visible or toxic residues so that the compost is able to support plant growth

  • • Must be visible from 10 ft. away as compostable• Must be BPI or ASTM certification  .... or...• Must be listed on Cedar Grove “acceptable” list 

  • issue # 3:  Is it Greener? Compost Quality :  • Creates no humus,  reduced to CO2 and water

    • Creates likelihood of contamination of  other plastics

    Lifecycle analysis :  • Producer sponsored studies  often show reduced GHG 

    emissions, • Other’s not…

    Cultivation of feed stocks ‐> genetically  modified,  pesticides, fossil fuel intensive agricultural practicesPolymerization processes 

  • Should you use it? ‐will consumers  put it in recycle?‐will it get composted?‐will it make healthy soil?  

    credits to Compostable Plastics 101, a white paper sponsored by the California Organics Council‐‐‐ available at  www.lanecounty.org/eventrecycling

    issue #3:  Is it GREENER

  • Reference:

    [email protected] Reduction Specialist

    Compostable Plastics Presentations:   http://compostingcouncil.org/2011‐compostable‐plastics‐symposium/

    White paper :  Compostable Plastics 101California Organics Council‐‐‐also posted to:  www.lanecounty.org/eventrecycling

    Biodegradable Products Institute    http://www.bpiworld.org/

  • [email protected]