Improved characterization of malodours in recycled plastics

9 May 2022

LCGC: The Column

A push towards a circular economy, in which materials are reused or recycled for as long as possible, has led to plastics manufacturers being urged to produce or use more post‑consumer recycled (PCR) plastics, especially for food and beverage packaging.  

However, PCR plastics require more rigorous quality control (QC) measures than new plastics to ensure that they will not produce volatile emissions that could be considered harmful or have a negative impact on the packaged product (for example, malodours). Unfortunately, existing methods for the detection of odours from plastics have several limitations.  

This article shows how thermal desorption (TD) with two-dimensional gas chromatographytime-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC×GC–TOF MS) can be used for comprehensive characterisation of the volatile organic compoundsemitted by recycled plastics.

The method overcomes the limitations of current malodour detection techniques and is easy to translate to routine QC screening.

 

 

 

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