As with conventional plastics, bioplastics need to be recycled separately (by stream type). Available sorting technologies such as NIR (near infrared) help to reduce contamination.

Bioplastic materials for which a recycling stream already exists (e.g. bio-based PE and bio-based PET) can easily be recycled together with their conventional counterparts. Other bioplastics for which no separate streams yet exist, are very unlikely to end up in mechanical recycling streams due to sophisticated sorting and treatment procedures (positive selection). Innovative materials such as PLA can technically easily be sorted and mechanically recycled. Once sufficiently large volumes are sold on the market, the implementation of separate recycling streams for PLA will become economically viable for recyclers.

Related links:

Waste management