Substances added to a resin in order to modify its properties and to increase its performance (e.g. rigidity, flexibility, colour, durability etc.). Examples of additives include: stabilizers, colourants, fillers, plasticizers.


Large particles formed by joining or binding together of primary particles, their original identity can still be visible in the final form.

Agricultural waste

“Waste consisting of poultry and livestock manure, and residual materials in liquid or solid form generated from the production and marketing of poultry, livestock, or fur-bearing animals also include grain, vegetable, and fruit harvest residue. “

Application technology

Technology used for converting plastics granulate into a product, e.g. injection molding, blow molding, extrusion.


Strapped bundles of plastics waste materials. They simplify transportation, handling and storage.

Blow Molding

A method of fabrication in which a warm plastic hollow tube is placed between the two halves of a mold cavity and forced to assume the shape of that mold cavity by use of internal pressure. This process forms hollow articles such as bottles, tanks, etc.

Bulk Waste

Any type of waste product that, due to its large size, cannot be accepted by regular waste collection.


Process used to smooth, compress, thin or coat materials during the manufacturing phase. Material is pushed through heated rolls, called calenders.

Chemical Recycling/Feedstock recycling

(also known as feedstock recycling) The operation through which collected plastics waste is defraded into its monomers or other basic chemicals. The output may be reused for polymerisation into new plastics, for the production of other chemicals, or as an alternative fuel.

Circular Economy

“An alternative to the conventional linear economy. “”Circular”” means that society keeps resources in use for as long as possible, extracts the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recovers and regenerates products and materials at the end of each service life.”

Closed Loop Recycling

“The processing of plastic waste in a closed and controlled chain these are product loops in which materials are continually recycled into the same product. “


The process of gathering plastic waste from industrial/commercial use as well as from households through a range of systems: curbside collection, bring systems, deposit systems, co-mingled collection.


Party or parties that aggregate post-consumer, commercial, and/or post-industrial materials from the public and sell to reclaimers. Collectors can collect materials from the curbs or households, or operate drop-off centers where the public can bring recyclables. (Source: APR)


Additive used to give colour or enhance the colour of plastics.

Co-mingled collection

“Gathering of plastic waste together with other waste fractions (metal, carboard, etc.); Gathering of one plastic type together with another one, e.g. PET and HDPE. This process should be applied to the plastic waste of bad quality which is not beneficial from an environmental and economic aspect.”


A mix of different plastic types and additives.


The process required to mix the polymer with all of the materials that are necessarry to provide the end user with a finished product.


Unwanted content in sorting input, sorting output and recycled material.


The process of transforming raw material (granulate, powder etc.) through heat, pressure, and/or chemistry into a finished product for industry and end-users. Conversion processes involve: extrusion, injection moulding, blow moulding, film blowing, calendering, laminating etc.

Curbside Collection

A system of waste collection from households, where each house or building has its own waste bins.


A monetary amount added to an object at purchase and refunded at take-back, e.g. beverage container deposit.


This activity consists of the final elimination of waste or residuals, through landfilling or incinerating without energy recovery, and as a result is not considered as a recycling or recovery operation.


Form of collection of household recyclables wherein the households take the items to a central aggregation location. (Source: APR)

Drop-off center

A central, predesignated area, building, or facility set up to receive recyclables which are dropped off by individuals.

End-of-life-vehicles (ELV)

European Waste directive for car recycling.

Energy Recovery

Operations that capture the released energy obtained during the combustion of plastics waste. This energy can be used to produce heat and/or electricity for domestic or industrial use.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

“A strategy to impose accountability over the entire lifecycle of products and packaging introduced to the market this may take the form of legislation that mandates private sector roles, responsibilities and outcomes for the funding and operating of systems designed to recover post-consumer packaging. (Source:APR)”


Certification scheme focusing on the traceability of plastic materials and the quality of recycled content.


The process of forming continous shapes by forcing a molten plastic material through a die.

Feedstock recycling

Recycling operation prefromed by reversing the polymerization and transforming polymers back into monomers, which can be burned for e.g heat or chemical feedstocks like synthesis gas, methanol, ammonia, diesel.

Ferrous metals

“Magnetic metals derived from iron or steel; products made from ferrous materials include applicances, furniture, containers, and packaging, like steel drums and barrels. Recycled products include processing tin/steel cans, strapping, and metals from appliances into new products. “


“A form of an additive, used to improve the properties of a matrial; fillers are most often used as a substitute for more expensive binding agents “

Film blowing

(also known as blown film extrusion) A method through which polymer films are most often manufactured. An extruder melts the polymer and then blows it into a tubular die, after which air is blown into the extruded tube. Cooling air solidifies the melt and nip rolls collect the manufactured film.


Films are distinguished from sheets in the plastic industry only according to their thickness. In general, films have thicknesses no greater than 0,030”.


A resin that has been shredded or granulated to enable furter reprocessing.

Flexible packaging

Flexible packaging is comprised of plastic bags and film such as snack food bags and pet food bags, also including new packaging technologies such as pouches and multi layer film. (Source: APR)

Green house gases

Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other fluorinated gases are the so-called greenhouse gases. These gases retrap heat in the atmosphere, causing the increase of temperatures on Earth.


A general term for devices that chop large items, such as bottle, into flakes that are normally a few centimeters in size. A shredder can do the same or produce strips of material. Granulator is another term for grinder. (Source:APR)

High-density polyethylene (HDPE)

Polyolefin usually used for pipes, detergent bottles, closures, etc.


Household Collection

System in which each household or unit sets out its own container of recyclables for collection from a designated location or aggregated centralized collection where residents in a multi-family complex all place their recyclables in central storage containers.


Industrial burning of recovered waste where thermal energy is captured for heating and electricity.

Industrial waste

“Unwanted materials from an industrial operation; the waste may be liquid, sludge, solid, and sometimes it can be hazardous. “

Injection moulding

Amethod of forming objects from granular or powdered plastics, most often of the thermoplastic type. During the process the material is fed from a hopper to a heated chamber, there it is softened after which a ram or a screw forces the material into a mold. Pressure is maintained until the mass has hardened sufficiently for removal from the mold.

Insert molding

The process of molding plastic around preformed metal inserts. This process is compatible with both thermoplastic and thermoset materials.

Infrared (IR)

Invisible electromagnetic radiation


Manufacturing process where a material’s strenght and durability are increased by assembling multiple layers of the material through the use of heat, pressure or adhesives.


A specially engineered site for disposal of solid waste on land. The waste is generally spread in thin layers which are then covered with soil.

Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)

Polyolefin usually used for films like shopping bags or cheese wrapping.



“Waste thrown away in an inappropriate place improperly stored waste that has escaped from its container; misplaced solid waste. “

Marine debris

Marine debris is trash or litter found in the water streams.


The plastic containing very high percentages of additives or colour pigments, used for mixing into larger batches.

Mechanical Recycling

“The operation aiming to recover plastics waste via mechanical processes, i.e. grinding, washing, separating, drying, re-granulating and compounding, thus producing recyclates that can be converted into new plastics products, often substituting virgin plastics. For mechanical recycling only thermoplastic materials are of interest, i.e. polymeric materials that may be re-melted and re-processed into products via techniques such as injection moulding or extrusion. Thermosets cannot be reprocessed in this way but may be chemically recycled back to feedstock or used as a carrier (e.g. cement kilns).”

link chemical recycling link mechanical recycling


Filtration process where a matrial is passed through a membrane, separating it from unwanted particles.

Mixed Plastics

Various similar output fractions of sorting centers and recycling companies classified as waste. It represents mainly mix of PP, PE but contains also PET, PS, and other polymers to some extend. Recycled material used as e.g. concrete and wood replacement.


A hollow form in which molten plastic is poured to form a designed shape when the material cools.


Fraction containing mostly one type of plastic where large share of other plastic (contamination) is not allowed.


A molecule that binds chemically with other molecules to form polymeric substances for example.

Matrial Recovery Facilities (MRF)

Plants where collected recyclable materials from households are sorted into different categories (e.g. plastics, cardboard, metal, paper).


A protective cover of organic material placed over soil to preserve soil moisture, prevent erosion, or promote the growth of plants.

Municipal solid waste (MSW)

“Residential and commercial waste generated by a particular municipal area; however, it does not include medical, industrial or construction/demolition waste. (Source:APR) “

Near-infrared (NIR)

Near-infrared is a region within infrared electromagnetic radiation. It an often used method of spectroscopy method, employed for the sorting of plastics waste.

Non-ferrous metals

Metals which contain no iron – such as aluminum, copper, brass and bronze.

Optical sorter

Type of machinery used to automate the process of identifying and sorting recyclable materials into their different categories for bailing. An optical sorter can be used to sort plastics by color and/or resin type. (Source: APR)

Polyethylene (PE)

Polyolefin polymer based on ethylene. It is used in a variety of bottles, lids, trays, thin flexible films in pouches and flow wrap applications. Two variants exist: Low-density (LDPE) and high-density (HDPE)


Standard raw material used in plastic manufacturing. Pellets are tablets or granules of uniform size, consisting of resins or mixtures of resins with compounding additives which have been prepared for molding operations by extrusion and chopping into short segments.

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

It is used mainly for bottles, trays, and as thin flexible film in pouches and flow wrap applications.


Plastic flake

Chopped, shredded, or ground plastic item, typically rigid, with maximum dimensions of less than 2.5 centimeters. (Source:APR)

Plastic resin

A polymer of a specific chemical composition such as polyethylene or polypropylene. (Source:APR)

Plastic scrap

Material that does not meet the quality requirements for reproduction purposes. An example of scrap are pellets that failed to meet specifications of converted goods. The scrap can be sold, disposed of, or ground and used again depending on the levels of contamination and degradation. (Source: APR)

Plastic waste

Any kind of plastic residual that has been discarded by its owner or is intended to, or required to be discarded.


Additive which gives flexibility to and reduces brittleness of a material.


Organic materials which have a polymeric structure (consisting of 1 or more polymers). Plastics in a finished state may contain so called additives (stabilizers, plasticisers, fillers etc.) which are used to modify the properties (colour, rigidity, flexibility etc.) of plastics depending on their applications.


A virgin plastic molecule which consists of chains or rings of linked monomer units.


Group of polymer thermoplastics consisting of only PP and PE.

Post-consumer Waste

Waste produced by consumer or business after being consumed or utilized (it has served its primary use).

Postindustrial material

Material that has been processed initially and has failed to meet specifications, or otherwise has not been sold as prime material but rather to another party for processing. (Source:APR)

Polypropylene (PP)

Polymer used in bottles, trays, and as a thin flexible film in pouches and flow wrap applications.

Pre-consumer/ Industrial Waste

“Post-industrial waste/industrial scrap; waste produced during the manufacturing or converting process. “


Plastic pre-shaped part produced by injection molding systems in the first step of a two-step injection molding and blow molding process used to produce bottles or containers. The preform is subsequently re-heated and strech-blown through a blow molding process into the final container shape.

Pots, tubs and trays (PTTs)

Part of UK recycling definition for curbside collection: Paper and cardboard is allowed additionally, sometimes glass as well

link PTT WG

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

Polymer most often used in construction (pipes, windows, doors), sometimes also used for non-food packaging

link PVC WG

Raw material

Raw material is the material used to fabricate or manufacture items of commerce.


Material reclaimed from the waste stream for recycling.


A recycling facility that processes containers into “dirty” flake and then into the final “clean” flake reclaim, which is used in the manufacture of new plastic materials. (Source: Avery Dennison)


Any operation which aims at employing waste to serve for useful purposes (eg. recycling, incineration with production of heat and electricity).

Recovery rate

The percentage of usable recycled materials that have been removed from the total amount of municipal solid waste generated in a specific area or by a specific business.


Materials identified for collection, processing, recovery or reuse, as part of a local government, business or another recycling collection program. (Source: APR)


Plastics Recyclers Eurpe’s recyclability tool for plastic packaging

link to RecyClass


Material resulting from the processing of plastic waste (pellets, granules, flakes, etc). (EU Commission, DG Grow, Plastic Waste in the environment)

Recycler’s input

Recyclers’s input refers to recovered plastic waste which is destined for reprocessing.

Recycler’s output

Recycler’s output refers to products of the recycling process.


Any recovery operation through which waste materials are reprocessed into products, materials or substances for their original or other purposes. The term recycling comprises different processes.


A resin that has been previously molded and then ground into small pieces for reprocessing. Regrind is usually comprised of sprues, runners and unfilled parts.


Substance, typically solid, which is convertible into polymers. It can be of plant or synthetic origin.

Resin identification code (RIC)

A coding system placed on plastics to identify the polymer used for the production.

Rigid packaging

Rigid packaging keeps its shape when moved or emptied. It is the opposite of flexible packaging.


The recycled PET that can be used for postconsumer recycled content in a new application.

Returnable transport packaging (RTP)

Examples of plastic RTP include plastic crates and plastic pallets.


Any output left over from processing or production that cannot be used for primary products.

Separate collection

Waste collection system where different waste streams (metals, paper, plastics) are collected separately. This form of collection ensures lower contamination levels and therefore leads to higher quality recyclates.


Sheets are made of continuous phase plastic in a form in which the thickness is very small in proportion to length and width. The thickness is greater than 0,25 milimeters.


Process of chopping large items into flakes or strips.

Single stream recycling

Type of recycling in which all recyclables are collected in the same container and then sorted by the deposit facilities, before entering the recycling process.


“Process of classification of the mixed plastic waste in multimaterial collection schemes; it consists of separating plastics from non-plastic content as well as plastic itself into different colours/polymer categories.”

Sorting Technologies

Sorting technologies depend on sorting, identification, and separation of plastic waste by type of polymer, additive, colour or shape, based on different physical as well as technical properties.


Additive that controls effects of heat and ultraviolet light on polymers, such as oxidation for example.


A variety of multiple polymers with different physical and mechanical properties. A major hurdle for mechanical recycling is that these different polymers are generally non-miscible or compatible with each other. This means that a mixture of different polymers can have inferior mechanical properties which make the recyclates unsuitable for many applications.


Synthetic materials that undergo a chemical change when they are treated, creating a three-dimensional network. After they are heated and formed, these molecules cannot be re-molten and reformed. (Source: PlasticsEurope)


A generic term for PVC, one of various compounds of ethylene that are polymerized to form resins and plastics (e.g. polyvinyl or polyethylene plastics).

Virgin plastic

“Plastic input that has never been processed before raw material.”

Waste diversion

The act of preventing waste from being disposed into landfills and incinerators.

Waste stream

The flow of materials from generation to disposal.


In a recycling process grinded particles are sorted according to their specific weight. Very light and thin particles fall down into a vertical chamber, after having been separated from the heavy ones by a low-sucking stream of air.

Zero waste

The reduction of solid waste generation waste to zero, or as close to zero as possible (Source:APR)