RECOUP launches UK rigid plastic recycling certification

Plastics recycling charity RECOUP has launched the RecyClassUK certification scheme to bring consistency in the evaluation of the recyclability of rigid plastic packaging.

Rigid plastic, often used in items like bottles and takeaway trays, can be challenging to recycle due to decisions being made in the design process such as using polymers that are not widely recycled or using colours that cannot be detected by recycling equipment.

Rows of plastic bottlesThis has led RECOUP to launch RecyClassUK, the UK version of RecyClass, which is run by Plastic Recyclers Europe.

RecyClassUK will form a consistent measurement for the plastics packaging value chain both to analyse its current output and provide solutions for making the products more recyclable. This will be organised through a classification system which will classify a product from class A (recyclable) to class F (not recyclable), while a report will be provided to advise on recommendations to achieve greater recyclability.

Describing the new scheme, Chief Executive of RECOUP Stuart Foster, said: “There has been increased demand for RECOUP to certify plastic packaging and ensure a recognised central and consistent point for plastic packaging recyclability reviews in the UK, also ensuring alignment internationally where possible. We are looking forward to working with the RecyClass platform which provides a fantastic opportunity to not only deliver these aims, but also evolve and align the recyclability certification opportunity as part of a network.”

This issue of plastic recyclability is prominent in the UK right now, with efforts made in recent years to encourage plastic packaging producers to increase the amount of recycled content used in their products and to improve their recyclability.

The UK Plastics Pact, which is managed by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), has ambitious aims for all plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

The Plastics Pact has released guidance on the best ways to increase recyclability of plastic packaging, while the British Plastics Federation has launched a sustainable design tool to the same end.

The government has laid out plans to introduce an extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme that would see producers of plastic packaging cover 100 per cent of the costs of collecting and processing plastic packaging at its end of life, which aims to incentivise producers to make their packaging easier to recycle.

The government is also pushing ahead with a Plastic Packaging Tax, which would see a tax placed on all manufactured or imported plastic packaging containing less than 30 per cent recycled content.

For more information on the RecyClassUK certification, visit the RECOUP website.

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