Thermal desorption (TD) with GC×GC–TOF MS can be used for comprehensive characterisation of volatiles from recycled plastics, and the method is simple to translate to routine screening in QC labs.
With a global push to move to a circular economy (the increased use of recycled materials to reduce waste), manufacturers are being urged to produce or use more post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics. PCR plastics require more rigorous quality control measures to ensure that they will not produce volatile emissions that could be considered harmful or have a negative impact on the packaged product (e.g., malodours).
In 1D GC separations, trace odorants in plastics are often masked by high-loading aliphatics and may be overlooked. With 2D GC, aliphatics are retained longer in the second-dimension column, eluting in a band of intense peaks along the top of the colour plot. Odour-active compounds (such as oxygenated species) elute earlier in the second dimension, separating these compounds from the aliphatics.