Plastics resource efficiency and recycling charity RECOUP is expanding its service provision by introducing a new Life Cycle Assessment (LCA ) service and its own state-of-the-art laboratory to support its recognised RecyClass certification service and facilities.
The addition of LCA to the group’s repertoire will allow it to assess the environmental impact of products, goods, and services across their life cycle from raw material extraction through to end-of-life.
The group says it believes that the use of LCA can assist with informing evidence-based decisions on product development and design, support supply chain and procurement decisions, track performance over time of packaging changes, improve overall environmental outcomes in line with strategy and policy, and challenge misinformation and greenwash.
Katherine Fleet, Head of Sustainability & Circularity commented: “RECOUP has been working on building LCA capability to assist members and the wider industry to better inform decision making related to product design in order that decisions are based on environmentally sound evidence rather than emotion”.
RECOUP currently test members’ plastic packaging samples for sortability at a Materials Recovery Facility, free of charge to members as a benefit of membership. The addition of the in-house laboratory has enabled RECOUP to further enhance its testing of plastics samples and material identification.
In particular, the RECOUP laboratory uses near-infrared (NIR) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) to identify the constituent components of a pack and help determine recyclability.
Richard Cham, Packaging Projects Officer comments: “I am excited about our future plans for the laboratory, in particular the introduction of FTIR microscopy which will enable the investigation of smaller, hard to see imperfections and contaminants, and give RECOUP the ability to analyse and identify microplastics from separated samples.”
Alongside the laboratory, RECOUP is also a UK provider for RecyClass certification which assesses and evaluates plastic packaging in terms of its recyclability.
Kate Bedford, Packaging Projects Manager at RECOUP comments: “RecyClass assesses the recyclability of plastic packaging, with certification for brand owners and compatibility for packaging manufacturers. RECOUP work as auditors for RecyClass in the UK; offering both members and non-members the opportunity to gain the certification.”