According to Plastics Recyclers Europe (Brussels), much of the plastic packaging on the market today requires a redesign in order to be circular. Design for recycling is the starting point in ensuring the genuine circularity of plastics and reaching Europe’s 55% recycling target by 2030.
The RecyClass Platform is guiding the shift toward circularity of plastics by working with the whole value chain on advancing the recyclability of plastic packaging by making it compatible with existing recycling technologies, said Plastics Recyclers Europe. To that end, the platform is working on the development of Recyclability Evaluation Protocols for the different polymers and packaging in the EU market.
“As the shift toward circularity will require innovation, the objective is to develop new laboratory procedures for recyclability testing of innovative packaging,” said Plastics Recyclers Europe’s announcement. “The RecyClass Evaluation Protocols aim to be a European-wide, standardized and science-based tool to assess and measure on a lab scale the impact of innovative materials/packaging in existing recycling streams. This is crucial in order to prevent innovations that could create problems in recycling, instead of solving them.”
Last year, RecyClass Evaluation Protocols for PE films was published. The impact of barriers like ethylene vinyl alcohol, polyamide and metallization are under evaluation, to allow for a precise, scientific compatibility check during the PE film recycling process. Laboratory tests for other polymer types are scheduled for later this year. Any innovative technology developed by the member companies can be analyzed and endorsed by the platform.
Raw material producers, packaging manufacturers, fast-moving consumer goods companies, brand owners and packaging decoration specialists are part of this initiative. RecyClass members include Constantia Flexibles, Mondi Group, Procter & Gamble, RPC, Suez, Ferrero, Greiner, Unilever, Essity, Avery Dennison, Orkla, Leonhard Kurz, Dow Chemical and Danone.
In addition to the technical work, the platform raises awareness about collection and sortability, as well as current issues surrounding recyclability, while promoting best practices in design for recycling and standardized certification of recyclability.
With its cross-industry approach, the RecyClass Platform provides a space for joint efforts geared at advancing the recyclability of plastic packaging, as the challenges surrounding design for recycling cannot be addressed only by one actor, concluded Plastics Recyclers Europe.
Image: Pavel/Adobe Stock