The National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) has countered the idea that polylactic acid (PLA) containers can be successfully mixed with the existing stream of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers. This could lead to increased cost of separation, increased contamination and yield loss, and impact on recycled PET (RPET) quality and processing. NAPCOR has spent over 20 years helping to build a successful domestic PET recycling infrastructure and this solution not only jeopardizes the PET system, but is not an effective solution for PLA.
Mike Schedler, NAPCOR's Technical Director added, "The entire premise that you can simply add PLA containers into the PET recycling stream, successfully sort them out, and eventually find markets for the material is like advocating that mixed ceramic materials can be thrown right in with the recyclable glass stream to be sorted out, and that eventually there will be enough of this mixed material that someone will want to buy it. It's really no different from this and just isn't a viable solution from anyone's point of view." Schedler went on to note that the PLA fraction will likely be mixed with other out-sorts from the PET stream, including PVC, PS and other resins, further complicating the marketing of the material.