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Mar 18th, 2024

Did anyone ever tell you to peel the labels off your plastic containers? In an article entitled Collaboration is Vital to Driving Recycling Success, in Packaging World Magazine's January/February edition, the plastic sorting process is described. Of the only 9% of plastics that are recycled, there is an additional percentage that is excluded due to contaminants.

Contaminants include shrink sleeve labels, and adhesives that do not allow a label to separate from the container. When a label covers more that 55% of a container, it may be eliminated as recyclable PET during the sorting process. PVC and paper labels can cause black flakes in post-consumer PET.

Behaviors, such as wish-cycling, cause difficulties at the commercial processing centers (jams, shutdowns, and additional expenses). Consumers place materials in recycling bins that they hope centers will deal with, making the sorting process more tedious.

With steel packaging, labels, inks and coatings burn off in the recycling process, along with all other contaminants. There are no steps or guessing games with steel can recycling. Even if a tin can is discarded with other disposables, it can be separated from other waste by magnet and recycled.

Manufacturers of plastic, glass and films, are considering recyclability in their packaging design, from the container itself to the adhesives and labels. There is great demand for products and containers with post-consumer, recycled content. Each tin can contains at least 25% and up to 68% recycled steel without loss of quality.

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