Greener package design could cut costs

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Recycling

An updated guide on the recyclability of plastic packaging can ensure savings for companies and includes chapters on recent developments in bioplastics and mixed plastics, say the publishers.

UK-based Recoup maintains that the 2009 version of Plastics Packaging - Recyclability by Design​ will ensure that companies are compliant with relevant legislation such as the European Packaging Waste Directive and will help minimize their recycling costs.

The publisher said the guidelines provides information for those wishing to make their packaging more recyclable and presents ways to ensure that a company's packaging does not inadvertently interfere with existing plastic recycling streams.

The publication “looks to recognise the need for and strike a balance between fit for purpose packaging, which is commercially viable and recyclable,”​ continued Recoup.

The guide addresses subjects such as the integration of environmental and legal aspects into the packaging design process; material identification; the recyclability of closures, labels and adhesives; material specific guidelines for bottles and mixed plastics; and the effect of bioplastics in current plastic waste streams.


Dr Steve Anderson, consultant and author of the guide, said that a key driver for developing the original guide, published in 2006, was the recognition that multinational companies need harmonised procedures which - if followed - will help ensure that the recycling needs of the countries into which their packaged products are sold are satisfied.

“Today, this is equally valid and indeed the need for standard international guidelines has become even more important as retailers increasingly seek to source their products from outside their home country,”​ added Anderson.

According to the author, the guide takes a realistic view of what is currently achievable in terms of collection, sorting and reprocessing of plastics packaging.


Recoup added that during 2009 and beyond, there are likely to be a number of ongoing revisions to the guide, particularly in the section on mixed plastics packaging to reflect the activity and progress being made in this area.

“We are very much aware of the pressures that face all of those involved in plastics packaging and recycling, not just today but looking ahead.

“We recognise that for many pack producers this is not an overnight change and that in terms of introducing additional plastic containers, for instance, mixed plastics, into the UK and European plastics packaging recycling stream we are in the early days, hence the guide will remain dynamic,”​ said John Simmons, chief executive of Recoup.

Recoup includes a network of members who represent all sectors of the plastics supply and recovery chain, including polymer producers, convertors, packer fillers, retailers, local authorities, waste management companies and plastics reprocessors.

The 48 page guide is available for free download on the Recoup website.

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