MEASURING THE QUALITY OF RECYCLED PLASTICS

There are some differences between resins and recycled plastics. However, in terms of high quality, customers’ expectations are the same for both resins and recycled. For the end user, meeting these high quality standards and cleaning the feed stream can become a challenging technological process. At the end of the day, serious measurement and testing practices must be carried out in order to meet quality expectations and achieve a sustainable quality standard.

The expected performance from recycled material will vary depending on the area in which the material will be used. Sometimes the usage area requires very high performance values. This requires that the material always has the same high quality. In the past, when recycling was not an industry, recycled plastics were not subject to quality tests and were used in lower segment usage areas. Today, the situation is very different. The performance and quality standard of non-recycled, i.e., never used materials are now provided in recycled plastic, so these plastics can be used safely in the automobile, electronics and even food industries. Therefore, processors operating in the recycling industry have no choice but to high quality and performance.

Meeting Quality Expectations

No brand compromises on the quality and performance of its product. When we look at recycled plastic materials from this point of view, they are an important economic value with the quality they offer beyond their environmental responsibility practices. Buyers of this recycled plastic output wait for the quality offered to be tested. These tests measure the intrinsic viscosity, the presence of additives and chemicals, the presence of ash and other contaminants. The appearance of the output is also a quality determinant.

The use of recycled plastic is not only an economical raw material source for brands with goals in the axis of sustainability and circular economy, but also a starting point for the development of the new products. This means that there should be no difference between unused pure plastic raw material and recycled plastic in terms of quality and performance. Therefore, raw material producers and recycling processors should have the same testing and certification processes.

Quality Tests

Customers have an expectation of an unbiased evaluation of the recycled plastic output through testing and measurement across the axes of quality, volume, and performance. They make the purchasing decision only after that. This means setting up a dedicated laboratory environment in plastic recycling facilities to ensure quality. First of all, it is necessary to determine which tests and measurements prove that the output has quality standards that will meet expectations. This will be determined entirely by the feedback from the customers. In the next step, it should be determined which equipment is required for the establishment of this laboratory. Because quality test technologies differ according to the recycled material. As we mentioned before, the test technology will be very similar as the pure unused raw material and recycled plastic output in the market are expected to have almost the same quality performance values. Establishing this test and measurement laboratory in recycling facilities is a process and practice that should be given importance and attention.

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