How to Recycle PE Shrink Films?

2022-10-07 | Technical Blog | By Resul Gökpınar |

Shrink films are widely used for packaging applications in many industries because of their ease of use and superior wrapping properties. Such widespread usage brings with the necessity of recycling shrink films. When Shrink films are recycled, it is possible to reuse the valuable plastic material they contain in production. In this article, we will mostly focus on the recycling of PE (Polyethylene) type shrink films.

What is PE Shrink Film?

PE (Polyethylene) shrink films are a type of film that shrinks when it comes into contact with heat and thus takes the shape of the product it wraps. Although shrink films are also produced from PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) and POF (Polyolefin) type materials, PE-based shrink films are widely preferred among manufacturers for their high durability and application flexibility.

PE Shrink Film Rolls Production
( PE Shrink Film Rolls Production )

4 benefits of PE Shrink film/wrap:

  1. 100% recyclable
  2. High durability & high flexibility for packaging
  3. Printable – allows to apply high-quality graphic designs on it
  4. Cost savvy – cheaper alternative for corrugated boxes

What are the PE Shrink Film Applications?

Because of the ability to be easily blended with various types of polymers and additives, PE shrink films have a wider range of applications. For these reasons, we see them intensively used in printed and unprinted wrapping and packaging applications for logistics, foods, furniture, stationery, white goods, water bottles, boat wrapping, and hand tools. Moreover, strong wrapping ability, makes PE shrink film packaging is a better alternative for corrugated trays especially for water bottle packaging, heavy tools packaging, and hand tools packaging.

PE Shrink Wrap Packaging
( PE Shrink Wrap Packaging )

Ideal Machine for PE Shrink Film Recycling

During the production of PE shrink films, factory wastes occur due to various reasons. It is not only much more profitable for manufacturers to recycle these wastes in-house, but also saves time and space in the factory. POLYSTAR has designed the Repro-Flex plastic pelletizer for ease of use and efficient recycling, which processes the material in one step.

PE Shrink Film Plastic Pelletizer
PE Shrink Film Plastic Pelletizer )

Advantages of Repro-Flex plastic pelletizer:

  1. A built-in cutter compactor ensures the shrink films are cut and fed directly and steady into the recycling extruder.
  2. Automatic die face pelletizing system to obtain uniform and homogeneous recycled shrink film pellets
  3. Starter-friendly – Simple design and automation with smart recycling systems allows operators to learn running plastic pelletizer in a short time

Post-consumer and Printed PE Shrink Film Recycling Pelletizer

It will be advantageous to process post-consumer PE shrink films and printed PE shrink films with a recycling machine that has advanced filtration and degassing systems. For this reason, POLYSTAR has developed the cutter compactor integrated Repro-Flex Plus two stage plastic pelletizer.

Repro-Flex Plus Two-Stage Plastic Pelletizer
Repro-Flex Plus Two-Stage Plastic Pelletizer )

Advantages of Repro-Flex Plus plastic pelletizer:

  1. Stable two-stage recycling process for post-consumer and heavily printed PE shrink films through automation.
  2. Three Degassing & two filtration units to remove the extra moisture and ink from the post-consumer materials.
  3. Obtaining high-quality plastic pellets from post-consumer and heavily printed PE shrink films.

What is Recycled PE Shrink Wrap Pellets Used for?

Factory Waste PE Shrink Film Recycled Pellets

( Factory Waste PE Shrink Film Recycled Pellets )

In most cases, 100% of the PE shrink film factory production wastes can be recycled. Since these materials are not contaminated and their structures are well known by the producers, recycled PE granules can be used directly in the shrink film production lines at certain percentages. Especially in Europe and US, producing 100% recycled PE shrink films is an increasing trend among the producers.

Post-Consumer PE Shrink Film Recycled Pellets

( Post-Consumer PE Shrink Film Recycled Pellets )

Pellets obtained from post-consumer and printed PE shrink films are often used in injection molding production lines. Therefore, these recycled PE pellets are highly demanded by plastic injection molding manufacturers. Besides the post-consumer recyclers, the in-house recyclers can also sell their recycled PE pellets surplus in the market and have profit.


The widespread use of PE shrink films also emerges the necessity of recycling. In addition to helping environmental protection, considering the ever-increasing polymer prices, each piece of PE shrink film recycled helps to save costs for manufacturers. Therefore, the recycling of PE shrink films in-house is a rising trend among producers. For the further info about the both in-house and post-consumer shrink film recycling projects, please contact POLYSTAR.

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About the Author
Resul Gökpınar

POLYSTAR’s International Sales Representative

Resul creates up to date content based on his experience, gained by solving customers problems from Turkey and EMEA market.

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