Washing Post-Consumer Flexible Polyethylene Packaging Waste
Journal article, 2022

The mechanical and thermal properties of injection-molded recycled polyethylene were studied, specifically with respect to the influence of large-scale washing and melt-compounding of polyethylene from post-consumer packaging waste. Three types of materials were studied: those taken after sorting, after sorting and washing, and after sorting, washing, and melt-compounding, including melt-filtration, all from a large-scale material flow. The materials were further processed on a laboratory scale and compared. The results showed that large-scale washing significantly reduced thermo-oxidative stability, as well as molar mass and melt viscosity. The degradation during large-scale washing made the material susceptible to further degradation in the subsequent extrusion compounding, as shown by the differences in compounding at 240 and 200 °C using a high-shear screw configuration. The compounding parameters, screw configuration, and compounding temperature did not influence the stiffness and strength of the unwashed and large-scale-washed materials, but the elongation-at-break varied, specifically, with the increased temperature. Washing had an influence on the mechanical properties as well, and the unwashed material provided molded samples with stiffness measurements of approximately 550 MPa, whereas the large-scale-washed material provided stiffness of approximately 400 MPa. The strength measurements were approximately 15 MPa for samples made of both unwashed and large-scale-washed material, and the elongation-at-break measurements were between 50 and 150%. The large-scale-washed and compounded materials had very different mechanical properties, with stiffness measurements of approximately 320 MPa, strength of approximately 20 MPA, and elongation-at-break of approximately 350%. The significantly different mechanical properties of the large-scale-washed and compounded materials were likely due to the melt-filtration included in the compounding through the removal of metal and rubber particles, and they may also have been due to the compatibilizing and stabilizing additive used in the compounding.

plastics recycling


mechanical properties





Ezgi Ceren Boz Noyan

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Engineering Materials

Abhijit Venkatesh

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Engineering Materials

Antal Boldizar

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Engineering Materials


23134321 (eISSN)

Vol. 7 6 90

The influence of washing parameters on the mechanical performance of recycled plasticspackaging

Norwegian Retailers' Environment Fund (ID11297), 2021-02-01 -- 2022-01-31.

Återvinning av insamlad plast från förpackningar

Plastkretsen (PK) AB:s Stiftelse för forskning (-), 2020-06-01 -- 2024-12-31.

Subject Categories

Polymer Chemistry

Polymer Technologies

Other Materials Engineering

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Sustainable development

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Materials Science



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1/9/2023 1