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Plastics Legislation: AB 793 - How are Manufacturers Affected?

Now that we have a better understanding of AB 793 and what is going to be required of plastic product manufacturers operating in California, let’s take a look at what options manufacturers have at their disposal to help them abide by these new regulations.


If you want a quick rundown of what AB 793 is and how it’s going to affect plastic manufacturers who do business in California, check out our recent blog posts that explain what it’s all about.


What Can Manufacturers Do?

Current solutions

As far as existing solutions that can just be dropped into processes go, the options are pretty limited. The Association of Plastic Recyclers offers a directory for those looking for PCR buyers and sellers based on material and form factor. As can be seen in the directory, it’s considerably sparse and only addresses PET and HDPE materials, which barely scratches the surface of plastic resins that can and should be recycled.

That being said, most companies that do offer PCR solutions, rarely sell pellets for manufacturers to use in their injection molding processes. Rather, they sell end-to-end products, which, for manufacturers, could mean changing their entire production process and potentially increasing costs.


Adding PCR Flake

For those who don’t know, injection molding and plastic extrusion can be done using plastic material in either pellet or flake form.



Most plastic manufacturers use plastic pellets in their processes, though depending on the use case, some may use plastic flake. Because of the difference in densities and melt flow rates, switching between the two materials is a non-trivial task for manufacturers that are currently using plastic pellets.

Additionally, because of the low density of plastic flake, it will require much more flake material for manufacturers to achieve their PCR percentage requirements.

Finally, plastic flake that’s currently being offered often has a large amount of contaminants, which can cause specks to appear in the final product. Removal of contaminants from the flake through melt filtration is possible, but will require adjustments to current processes.


Using Post-Industrial Recycled Plastic (PIR)

Post-industrial plastic waste is often an alternative that plastic manufacturers prefer because it’s still recycled content, but is easier to use because contamination is not as large of a concern. However, this material type does not apply to AB 793, which requires post-consumer plastic to qualify for the minimum plastic content requirement. (But we are all for all kinds of recycled content, so if we can incorporate PCR and PIR, then all the better!)


 

Now, after reviewing all of these options, it may seem like there’s just no hope for plastic manufacturers, but have no fear, CLP is here! We want to do what’s right for the planet so that we could all learn how to better reuse our resources. And even better yet, we want to make the process simple and straightforward. To learn more about how we can help manufacturers adapt to our new and (hopefully) more recycled world, be sure to check out our next blog post coming up soon.


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