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 chromatography–time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC×GC–TOF
MS) can be used for comprehensive characterization of the volatile organic compounds
emitted 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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