Understanding PCR

PCR is an acronym for Post-Consumer Recycle. PCR has become more and more sought after and is commonly misunderstood and associated with other forms of recycle.


PCR/ Post-Consumer Recycle Definition

Plastic can only be considered PCR if the following events take place:

  1. Raw plastic material is purchased by a converter and then converted into a plastic part that is sold to an O.E.M.
  2. The plastic part is then sold/distributed to a consumer
  3. The consumer then discards the plastic package
  4. The plastic package is then recycled and prepared for conversion so it then can be converted again into a new plastic part.

PCR is commonly confused with PIR. PIR is an acronym for Post Industrial Recycle.

PIR/Post Industrial Recycle Definition

Process definition of PIR

  1. Raw plastic material is purchased by a converter and then converted into a plastic part. During the conversion scrap plastic can and will be produced.
  2. The Converter converts either on site or hires a 3rd party to grind the scrap plastic into a form the Converter can feed back into their process during the manufacturing process.
PCR Materials Available through APC Packaging

APC Packaging currently has available 3 forms of PCR. One is for injection molding and the other is for one of the many blow molding processes. APC recommends utilizing APC Engineering to advise on the percentage of PCR that can be used as well as exact package components that will work best with PCR.

PCR Resins Available

  1. PP or Polypropylene for injection molding
  2. HDPE or High-Density Polyethylene for blow molding
  3. PET/PETE or Polyethylene Terephthalate for blow molding, IBM/Injection Blow Molding & ISBM/Injection Stretch Blow Molding.
  4. PET/PETE can be injection molded as well but is done on a case by case basis.
PCR Material Costs vs Virgin Materials

APC Packaging is continually improving our supply of PCR materials and striving to be cost neutral with virgin materials. Currently we are within 5% of a plastic part manufactured with 100% virgin material.

MOQ’s for PCR Materials

MOQ’s for PCR are getting lower due to demand, but currently all products available in PCR need to have an MOQ of 25M.

Can PCR Cause an Issue or Problem for Certain Packages?

APC PCR must go through a rigorous sorting and cleaning process. PCR does bring inherent variables that must be dealt with either through part design or final material formulation (PCR + Virgin). As an example: PCR Polypropylene can be a mixture of low and high impact grades that when used on an airless bottle could cause the bottle to fail a drop test specified by our clients. These concerns can be worked through with the APC Engineering Team.

APC Recommendations for PCR Packages

Standard testing that is stipulated by the client is all that is necessary.

PCR and Color

Coloring PCR to the clients desired color can be the greatest challenge. PCR sorting and classification technology has advanced considerably but there will always be inherent challenges with light colors, translucent colors and transparent colors. Working closely with our clients these challenges can be resolved in almost all cases.

PCR and Decoration

PCR does not present any new decoration challenges when compared to virgin plastic.

PCR and Lead Times

Currently PCR lead times can only be affected for spontaneous orders. By working with our clients through their programs we can overcome most any lead time challenges that may be present.

Let's Talk
Looking for solutions to your beauty packaging needs that meet your brand and sustainability requirements?

Not able to find the packaging solution that you need? APC Packaging offers many more options including private molds.

Request a free consultation with one of our packaging experts.

For all other inquiries, please contact Purchasing, Human Resources, Logistics or Marketing.