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Three major international plastics recycling organisations have announced a partnership designed to coordinate efforts on testing protocols - The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE), and the European PET Bottle Platform (EPBP) recently formed the Global Plastics Outreach Alliance with a goal of harmonising relative Design Guides and Testing Protocols, and serve as a coordinated industry voice to create a Global Plastics Protocol.

"All of our organisations over the years have developed testing protocols to determine the recyclability of a package or innovation", commented Steve Alexander, President of APR, which is based in Washington, DC. "As consumer brand companies expand their focus on sustainability, we identified differences between our protocols, which may require a company to conduct 3 separate tests to achieve the same recyclability designation. We hope to clarify those differences and align all segments of our testing protocols. This exercise will also allow us to provide information to the New Plastics Economy (NPE) program of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation."

Ton Emans, President of Plastics Recyclers Europe, pointed out the importance of having a coordinated voice of the plastics recycling industry. "There has been a tremendous amount of work done to date that greatly improved the ability of a package or material to be recycled from a design and collection standpoint", commented Emans.

Andreas Christel, who represents EPBP, pointed to PET recyclability tests as an example of the importance of the group effort. "In an ever-changing global economy, the last thing we need in the plastics recycling world is to make it more difficult for packaging engineers and designers to understand what protocol the innovation should address in order to assure recyclability. This effort will go a long way toward creating a truly global plastics recycling industry standard for certain resins."

The Alliance will provide industry updates at the APR meeting October 17th (Pittsburgh, PA) PRE meeting November 23rd (Budapest, Hungary) and at the Plastics Recycling Conference February 19-22nd (Nashville, TN).

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