RecyClass™ – a classification system for recyclability

Today plastic packaging design threatens new EU recycling targets, says the association Plastics Recyclers Europe. Plastic packaging recycling does not begin with collection but design. Packaging design today is focused mainly on maximizing performance. Careless design often leads to incomplete emptying of a package and what about different combinations of polymers/materials which are incompatible for an efficient recycling process?
The new challenge should be that recyclability becomes a requirement fully equal to the other performance criteria. This will help to divert substantial quantities of plastics away from landfill and incineration into recycling hence moving them to a higher category according to the EU waste hierarchy.

Plastics Recyclers Europe believe that the introduction of an EU classification system will assist designers in evaluating their creations from a recyclability point of view, in the addition it will help them in choosing the best options to improve their class.

RecyClass™ as a common market approach will build on existing Design for Recycling Guidelines. It will offer an easy method to determine the recyclability class of any plastic package, based on a scale from A to G (seven classes comparable to EU energy efficiency classes).

“Many months ago we started working on this project. At this stage a first draft of our model is being tested in several technical institutes in different European Countries.” says Paolo Glerean who heads PRE’s packaging design task force. “Our goal is to present the
Recy Class™ tool during a special event at Interpack in Duesseldorf in May 2014”.

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