How Science is backing the RecyClass Platform
Much of the plastic packaging placed on the market today requires a redesign to be circular. Design for recycling is the starting point in ensuring the genuine circularity of plastics and reaching the 55% recycling target by 2030 in Europe.
According to Plastics Recyclers Europe the main purpose of the RecyClass Platform is steering the shift towards circularity of plastics by working with the whole value chain on advancing the recyclability of plastic packaging, while making it compatible with existing recycling technologies.
Moreover, the Platform is working on the development of ‘Recyclability Evaluation Protocols’ for the different polymers and packaging that are placed on the EU market. As the shift towards circularity will require innovation, the objective is to develop new laboratory procedures for recyclability testing of innovative packaging. The RecyClass Evaluation Protocols aim to be a European-wide, standardized and scientific-based tool to assess and measure on a lab scale the impact of an innovative material/package in the existing recycling streams. This is crucial in order to prevent innovations that could create problems in recycling, instead of solving them.
Last year, ‘RecyClass Evaluation Protocols for PE films’ was published. For multilayer flexibles, the impact of barriers like ethylene vinyl alcohol, polyamide and metallization are under evaluation, to allow for a precise, scientific compatibility check during the PE film recycling process. Scheduled for this year are also laboratory tests for other polymer types. Furthermore, any innovative technology developed by the member companies can be analyzed and endorsed by the Platform.
Among the growing network of partners that are now part of the initiative, there are raw material producers, packaging manufacturers, fast-moving consumer goods companies, brand owners and packaging decoration specialists. The RecyClass members include Constantia Flexibles, Mondi Group, Procter & Gamble, RPC, Suez, Ferrero, Greiner, Unilever, Essity, Avery Dennison, Orkla, Leonhard Kurz, Dow Chemical Company and Danone.
Apart from the technical work, the Platform raises awareness about the collection, sortability, as well as the current issues surrounding recyclability, while promoting the best practices in design for recycling and standardized certification of recyclability.
With its cross-industry approach, the RecyClass Platform provides a space for joint efforts geared at advancing the recyclability of plastic packaging as the challenges surrounding design for recycling cannot be addressed only by one actor.