Analysis of recycled plastic waste and materials

Waste” means any substance or object which the holder discards or intends or is required to discard by legal provisions in force.

There is pre-consumer and post-consumer waste. Their characteristics are different and different materials can be obtained from each one.

Recovered or recycled materials come from waste but are no longer considered waste. A recovered material is waste that a company generates, treats (e.g. by shredding) and reintroduces into the transformation process. This material is not bought, but has a technical sheet and a safety sheet.

To ensure that recycled materials are of the required quality for processing and for the finished product to work properly, international standards define the mandatory and optional characteristics to be measured, specifications and testing methods applicable to each type of material.

Testing and product standards

Testing and product standards are generally voluntary unless legislation stipulates that application is mandatory. However, product standards UNE EN 15344, UNE EN 15345, UNE EN 15346, UNE EN 15348 and UNE EN 15342 include both mandatory and voluntary testing standards.

In this case, the fact that some tests are mandatory does not mean that the law requires the tests to be performed. However, when a manufacturer states that its product complies with a product standard, this implies that the manufacturer has performed at least the mandatory tests on the samples. UNE EN 15343 does not refer to a specific product, but to the traceability and conformity of recycled plastic.


Recyclability protocols

Recyclability protocols and certifications for plastic materials are becoming increasingly important with the aim of ensuring quality and adapting to new trends that benefit the circular economy.

For plastic packaging, AIMPLAS is recognized by RecyClass to evaluate the recyclability of innovative materials (technological evaluation). The aim of these analyses and controls is to increase the quality of recycled materials on the market and thus increase acceptance and use of these materials.

Learn more about RecyClass certification »

The number of options available to ensure plastic waste quality and control is on the rise, as are the types of recycled plastic materials resulting from treatment:

Materiales reciclados

End-of-Waste Status Directive (FER): Ordinance 245/2017 (Portuguese directive)

It established a regulatory framework to guarantee the traceability of plastic waste used to manufacture certain products (end-of-waste status).

  • REACH criteria.
  • Characterization in accordance with standards UNE-EN 15342, UNE-EN 15344, UNE-EN 15345 and UNE-EN 15348.
  • Specific requirements for final application.
Exportación de residuos plásticos
Importación de residuos plásticos

Basel Convention

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is a multilateral environmental treaty that mainly involves hazardous waste. It is supported by 170 countries that protect the safety of the countries receiving waste by ensuring that the waste is not hazardous and can therefore help foster the circular economy on a global level.

Convention amendments on plastics aims to reduce exports and imports of plastic waste that may be harmful to human health or the environment when transported from one country to another for a specific use (mechanical recycling, incineration, etc.).

Plastic waste must meet a number of requirements described in the Basel Convention before it can be transported across the border from one country to another and the destination country can accept its entry. AIMPLAS laboratories are accredited for series of tests to enable plastic exports to meet Basel Convention requirements:

  • Potential for flammability
  • Corrosivity and reactivity
  • Identification
  • Toxicity and radioactivity

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Characterisation Laboratory