Materials

CEPI launches new recyclability guidelines for paper packaging design

The fibre-based packaging industry has issued new recyclability guidelines to help designers boost the recyclability and functionality of paper packaging.

CEPI launches new recyclability guidelines for paper packaging design

These guidelines have been developed by the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI), in partnership with the International Confederation of Paper and Board Converters in Europe (CITPA), the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) and the European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers (FEFCO).

Included in the recommendations are suggestions to optimise recyclability by ensuring that, if any non-paper constituents are needed, the separation of the different elements is as easy as possible.

When designing barriers – for instance for food contact – from new technologies, packaging producers should refer to test methods and test the recyclability performance at paper recycling mills.

With regard to labelling, the guidelines state that consumers should be provided with information to encourage them to sort and place the packaging in the correct bin.

Ulrich Leberle, Raw Materials Director at CEPI, commented: “Retailers and brand-owners exploring new fibre based solutions want to see their packaging back in the loop after use. With these guidelines the paper and board value chain gives the answer to what this means and requires in practice. In this spirit, CEPI co-launched the new alliance 4evergreen, together with more than 30 companies on 20 November.

“The aim of this alliance is to boost the contribution of fibre-based packaging in a circular and sustainable economy that minimises climate and environmental impact.”

Although recycling rates for paper are high compared to other materials, the European paper recycling rate fell from 72.4 per cent in 2017 to 71.6 per cent in 2018, largely due to a fall in exports of paper for recycling.

CEPI’s update on the state of the European paper and pulp market for 2018, which was published in July 2019, showed that exports of paper for recycling had fallen by 6.1 per cent, with a 7.4 per cent drop in exports of paper for recycling to Asia. This can partly be attributed to China’s ban on the import of 24 grades of solid waste, including unsorted mixed papers, at the start of 2018.

In a bid to support fibre-based packaging, a new industry alliance, 4evergreen, was launched last month, which has already gained a number of prominent members, including Nestlé, Danone, Stora Enso, Smurfit Kappa, Sappi and Metsä Board. The alliance aims to boost the recyclability of paper and card-based packaging by advocating legislation for product design and calling for improvements in recycling infrastructure.

You can download the paper-based packaging recyclability guidelines on the CEPI website.

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