Commercial Guidelines for Baled Recycled Plastic Scrap were developed to provide industry-wide quality standards. These standards will facilitate commodity trading of these materials. They will also focus suppliers of such material on the quality requirements of their customers.

Common issues for this category:
The following list applies to all materials listed in this category.
■ Caps, enclosures, and labels are acceptable.
■ Product need not be washed, but preferred.


Plastic Film Specifications

Terms & Conditions

Product These guidelines are designed with the potential for dealing with all recycled plastic in bale form. Initial specifications refer only to bottles. The code framework allows for generation of guidelines for all types of plastic packaging materials (including rigids and flexibles) with room for expansion to other plastic products and resins including those which are used to produce durable goods. Guidelines for those products may be added at a later date. Bale Density Bales shall be compressed to a minimum density of 10 pounds per cubic foot and a maximum density to be determined by individual contract between Buyer and Seller. Increased density may improve transportation efficiency, but over-compression may adversely affect the ability of a Buyer to separate, sort, and reprocess the material. Bale Tying Material Bale wires, ties, or straps shall be made of non-rusting or corroding material. Bale Integrity Bale integrity must be maintained through loading, shipping, handling, and storage. Distorted or broken bales are difficult to handle. They are unacceptable and may result in downgrading, rejection, or charge back. Allowable Contamination Unspecified materials must not exceed 2% of total bale weight. Bales which contain over 2% will be subjected to reduction in the contracted price of the material as well as charges for disposal of the contaminants. The reduced percentage will vary depending upon the amount and type of contamination. Quality of the baled plastic is the primary factor which determines the value. Prohibited Material Certain materials are understood to be specified as “prohibited.” Such materials will render the bale “non-specification” and may cause some customers to reject the entire shipment. These may include plastic materials which have a deleterious effect on each other when reprocessed, and materials such as agricultural chemicals, hazardous materials, flammable liquids and/or their containers, and medical waste. Liquids Plastic containers/materials should be empty and dry when baled. The bale should be free of any free-flowing liquid of any type. General Shipments should be essentially free of dirt, mud, stones, grease, glass, and paper. The plastic must not have been damaged by ultraviolet exposure. Every effort should be made to store the material above ground and under cover. A good faith effort on the part of the supplier will be made to include only rinsed bottles which have closures removed.


Loose material that is compressed and bound together.

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)

A generic term that refers to size and shape. Typically consists of plastic bottles or plastic film typically ground into a chip.

Material that has been purchased by a consumer and used for its original purpose. Such material may be scrap from the installation process. The material may have reached the end of its serviceable life and has been removed from service. In distribution center or worksite environments, the packaging has been opened and exposed to environmental conditions causing a higher likelihood of contamination. This material can also be categorized as “postconsumer.”

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.

Plastic Bottle
A rigid container which is designed with a neck that is smaller than the body. Normally used to hold liquids and emptied by pouring.

Plastic Film
A thin flexible sheet which does not hold a particular shape when unsupported.

Products generated by a business or consumer that have served their intended end use and have been separated or diverted from the solid waste stream for the purpose of recycling.

Plastic that has been melted and has hardened. This material has no set shape or form.

Recovered Plastic
Plastic materials which have been recovered or diverted from the solid waste stream. Does not include materials generated from and commonly reused within an original manufacturing process.

Recycled Plastic
Plastics composed of either post-consumer or recovered material or both.

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 processes.

Rigid Plastic Container
A package (formed or molded container) which maintains its shape when empty and unsupported.

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 about 1”. Size range, characteristics should be agreed to between buyer and seller.

Shredded Plastic
Generic term. Material that contains a high plastic content. Typically contains 90% 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% to about 90% depending on the type of durable goods and the steps taken in the metal separation process. Size range, characteristics should be agreed to between buyer and seller.

Can be found in multiple environments such as worksite, distribution centers or OEM facilities. The material has not been used due to a defect or other circumstance. It can be obsolete or surplus material. Material is that recovered from the distribution chain can also be categorized as “post-consumer.” Material recovered before the distribution chain can be categorized as “pre-consumer.”