plastics specifications set to standardize industry
The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries,
Inc. (ISRI) released new specifications to modernize, standardize
and streamline plastics buying and selling.
The new specifications were approved by ISRI’s board of directors.
ISRI’s plastic scrap specifications will give buyers and sellers
that handle plastic scrap a set of common terms and definitions
they can use when they establish their business relationships.
This common vernacular can help both parties avoid misunderstandings
and ensure the terms they agree upon are mutually beneficial.
“As plastics have been increasingly recycled, ISRI’s plastic
scrap specifications needed to be updated,” said ISRI president
Robin Wiener. “We have seen a clear need for common ground when
it comes to specifications for recycled plastics. One of our
priorities here at ISRI is to ensure the free and fair trade
of commodities in a way that can be understood in our global
“Historically, the recyclable plastics commodities market has
been plagued with confusion surrounding the acceptable specifications
of even the most commonly traded grades [of plastic]. This has
resulted in increased market transaction costs and risk for all
parties,” said Jonathan L. Cohen, president of Generated Materials
Recovery and chair of ISRI’s Plastic Recycling Council. It is
our expectation that similar to the long established ISRI specs
for metals and fiber, the plastics specifications will become
widely used throughout the global marketplace.”
The newly approved specifications are below:
•Baled: Loose material that is compressed and bound together.
•Densified: Material that is compressed through mechanical means.
Typically applies to foam (purged) and film (turned into “popcorn”).
Densified material is typically sent on for additional processing.
•Durable goods: Electrical and electronic equipment, appliances,
automobiles (called “transportation equipment” in ISO 15270),
construction products (included in ISO 15270) and industrial
equipment (included in ISO 15270)
•Flake: A generic term that refers to size and shape. Typically
consists of plastic bottles or plastic film typically ground
into a chip.
•Mixed Load Plastic: Shredded plastic that contains various types
of resins and requires mechanical sorting to reach final specification.
Typically baled and not granulated. Types and grades included
in the bale to be agreed to by buyer and seller.
•Purge: Plastic that has been melted and has hardened. This material
has no set shape or form.
•Regrind: A generic term that refers to hard rigid plastic typically
ground into a chip. Typically consists of material that is the
same grade, color and type. It can be used in extrusion or molding
•Shred: Size reduced material. The typical upper size can be
between 3” to 12”, although in some cases the upper size can
be as small as 1”. Size range and characteristics should be agreed
to between buyer and seller.
•Shredded Plastic: Generic term. Material that contains a high
plastic content. Typically contains 90 percent plastic content.
•Shredder residue: The remaining mixture after the majority of
metals have been recovered from durable goods “shred.” The mixture
can contain plastics, rubber, wood, glass, rocks, dirt, paper,
film, textiles, wires and other metals missed during the metal
recovery process. The predominant single material is often plastic,
which can vary from about 15 percent to about 90 percent depending
on the type of durable goods and the steps taken in the metal
separation process. Size range and characteristics should be
agreed to between buyer and seller.