Sensory Analysis Blog

Off odor contamination in recylced plastic

Fast detection of off-odor and contaminants in recycled plastic

Plastic recycling consists of recovering waste plastic and reprocessing the material into new products. Plastics such as Polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are increasingly recycled. However, the contamination of plastic can be a threat to the quality and security of recycled products. In order to minimize this risk, recycling factories count on dilution of possible contaminated sources and also on an intense cleaning process to eliminate most contaminants.

A study was conducted with HERACLES Fast Gas Chromatography Electronic Nose to detect the main contaminants of recycled plastics producing unpleasant off-odors i.e. chloroform, benzene, toluene, 4-vinyl-1-cyclohexene, trichloroethylene, limonene, methyl salicylate and benzophenone.
All plastic contaminants are detected in less than 120 seconds, with detection limits between 0.5 µg/kg and 2 mg/kg depending on the compound.
HERACLES is the perfect analytical tool to evaluate the level of contamination in incoming plastic waste and to control residual volatile contamination in recycled plastic pellets. The quantification can be conducted in a few minutes upon receipt of the plastic waste or during the production process.

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