The Plastics Industry Recycling Action Plan (PIRAP) issued a revised edition of the RECOUP guidelines for plastic packaging – Recyclability by Design – on 2 February.
PIRAP – a collaborative effort initiated by WRAP but now being developed and implemented by the British Plastics Federation (BPF) and PlasticsEurope – aims to establish a range of joined-up actions across the plastics value chain aimed at boosting plastic packaging recycling. One of the PIRAP outcomes is that end of life is considered in design of plastic packaging.
Helen Jordan, British Plastics Federation Sustainability Issues Executive commented; ”Getting the packaging design right is essential to enable the material to be sorted and recycled into new products. This is an excellent guide which really can help companies to better design their products in a way that takes into consideration end of life. This initiative, and others like it, is something that PIRAP wholeheartedly support and encourage”
The latest version is the sixth version of the guide, which also marks 10 years since the release of the first edition.
Recyclability by Design provides guidelines for those wishing to make their packaging more recyclable, while also providing information about the various sectors of the plastic recycling chain. This is to help brand owners to understand how changes made can make a difference.
Incorporating recyclability into pack design has been a consideration for many years, and something promoted by RECOUP. But with the increasing awareness and momentum for better use of resources and a circular economy approach, there is a growing requirement for manufacturers, brands and retailers to improve their eco-design credentials.
RECOUP Packaging Technologist Paul East, who compiled the 76-page document, explained: “There is no doubt that packaging must perform its primary function first and foremost. This is especially true for food packaging. There are, however, still many packs on the market where some minor changes could make a difference to recyclability. The aim of Recyclability By Design is to highlight where simple changes can be made.”
RECOUP CEO, Stuart Foster, added; This document is very timely with recyclability of plastic packaging receiving a lot of coverage in recent weeks. I urge everyone involved in the plastic packaging chain to use the guide and support the work of RECOUP in this area.
As with previous versions, the most important pages of the document are the Material Specific Guidelines; tables for all forms of rigid plastic packaging which show, in detail, how improvements to recyclability can be made.
The updated version includes contributions from members, experts from both the packaging and recycling industries, including some background information to help understand what actually happens to plastic packaging in the recycling chain.
RECOUP requested contributions from all sections of the supply chain to achieve a balanced viewpoint. This includes views from the recycling industry on how product design and material selection can help improve the commercial viability to recycle more pots, tubs and trays. As well as an update from Milliken on the latest technology now available for producing ultra-clear polypropylene recyclable packaging.