Scrap plastic sampling and sorting guidelines released

4 Oct 2018

From Resource Recycling, by Jared Paben

Public and private entities regularly sample waste streams to glean data on the plastics that could be captured for recycling. Now, guidelines have been developed to standardize the process so results can be compared. 

The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) this week unveiled the best management practices for sorting plastics during waste characterization studies. A Sept. 26 webinar introduced the standards to the industry.

Plastic waste characterization studies involve scooping samples of garbage or recyclables, sorting out the plastics and weighing them. The data helps reclaimers, materials recovery facility (MRF) operators, public recycling programs, state governments and others understand what’s in the plastic stream and how it’s changing over time.

For MRFs, it can also help inform decisions on capital investments. In particular, more MRF operators are using waste characterizations on residual streams to determine which materials were missed that could be captured in the future with new equipment or through manual sorter training.