2005 Volume 46 Issue 1 Pages 13-20
The residual volatiles in recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) were analyzed using headspace/GC/MS. Recycled PET samples were made from PET bottles used for beverages, alcohol and soy sauce, and they were recycled in physical recycling plants, chemical recycling plants and superclean-like recycling trials. The physically recycled PET flakes contained small amounts of volatiles such as ethanol, limonene, 2-methyl-1,3-dioxolane, acetone, octanal and nonanal. Most of them originated from foods packed in bottles, and only 2-methyl-1,3-dioxolane was derived from polymer impurities. In contrast, the superclean-like or chemically recycled PET contained no detectable volatiles, like new PET pellets. The PET sheets shaped from physically recycled PET had no detectable volatiles. Not only the chemically and superclean-like recycled PET, but also the physically recycled PET contained no hazardous volatiles. It was concluded that there is no safety concern about volatiles in recycled PET, for the present use.