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Design your packaging for recycling


In order to achieve a circular economy for packaging we must improve how we design packaging and awareness of how to do so. 
To achieve this we must challenge how we design packaging from both a business model and material perspective to ensure that we: 
A. Maximise the chances of capturing packaging for either reuse or high quality recycling and 
B. Have a material that can be recycled without significant technical challenges when we do capture it

Packaging and Material Considerations 

Designing for recycling is about understanding the material combinations that are likely to create unfavourable conditions for the recycling industry during the sorting or reprocessing stages which can make the entire pack either very challenging to recycle or not recyclable at all. 

In fact material complexity is one of the key barriers to creating a circular economy and this is still a challenge for many plastics in particular. However it is critically important that our decision making processes to increase the circular economy potential of packaging, take into account the consequences of removing barrier materials in favour of others, which may not provide the same stability or shelf life.

How to use our Design Guide

Our packaging design guide offers a comprehensive insight into how packaging materials are collected, sorted and reprocessed by the waste and recycling industries and the challenges created by unfavourable design options. It therefore helps you to design your packaging for the Circular Economy, including the main packaging materials such as paper/cardboard, plastic, metals and glass.  It also includes updated advice on the design of flexible plastic packaging.

 You can access a copy of the guide using the button below or clicking here

The guide covers the three main stages of recycling for plastic, paper, metal and glass and includes: 
1. Collection from a residential or commercial premises     
2. Sorting of the materials into bales at the Material Recovery Facility (MRF) 
3. Separate material reprocessing 

For each of the above stages, the guide outlines where packaging design can have an impact on the recycling of the materials and what you can do to eliminate or minimise that impact.