Plastic Can / Cloud7Days, ShutterstockPlastic cans with metal lids might provide consumers with a better look at what’s inside, but that doesn’t mean the plastic recycling industry is happy about the innovation.

The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) announced this week that the clear plastic PET containers are a contaminant in the recycling stream. The containers are not yet in wide use, but some packaging companies are beginning to push the concept as a way to help food companies bring a more “natural” feel to their products.

“Although the PET portion of the can may be recyclable, the metal lid is seamed onto the PET,” the group stated. “There are no practical solutions to separate the two materials in material recovery facilities (MRFs), rendering the entire container non-recyclable.”

APR says it is actively encouraging companies that produce plastic cans to work alongside the group to come up with items that are recyclable.

“Because the plastic can is a significant contaminant to the plastic recycling stream, we encourage their producers to collaborate with APR to design packaging that is recyclable and sustainable,” stated John Standish, APR’s technical director.

APR’s recently updated Design Guide for Plastics Recyclability noted further testing was needed to determine the recyclability of PET containers with metal closures and attachments.

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