Legislative change and customer demand in the plastics recycling industry has led to the set up of a laboratory to test polymer feedstock.
Plastics company Axion Recycling said that the REACH legislation (a recent European Community regulation on chemicals and their safe use) and the Waste Framework Directive means customers need to identify the polymers they handle. It said only lab analysis can determine polymer types, additive content and new sources of raw material supply.
The companys commercial director Roger Morton said: With the plastics recycling sector more technically advanced, recycling and waste management companies are looking to recover new materials. So they need to accurately identify them, particularly the composition of complicated mixtures to improve efficiency and recycling rates. This also helps to extract more value from the materials and consequently better paybacks.
It is no longer acceptable to market goods with a rough verbal indication of the polymer type or to claim ignorance about levels of any undesirable additives.
He said the market was changing from buyers beware to one where customers have the right to demand detailed specification and material data sheets about the product.
The supplier has a legal obligation under REACH to provide this data and also specify the safe applications for the material, he added.
Image: Axion Recycling's polymer testing lab in action