Making plastic packaging genuinely recyclable hinges on clear guidance for the industry. With that goal in mind, RecyClass has developed guidelines for designing coloured polystyrene (PS) containers.

Any company wishing to verify the recyclability of its PS packaging can now consult the guidelines or use the free online RecyClass tool which incorporates the RecyClass Design for Recycling Guidelines.

“As polystyrene packaging is not widely recycled in the EU yet, development of this new guideline is pivotal in getting the recycling of polystyrene-based packaging off the ground,” says David Eslava, RecyClass’ PS technical committee chairman and deputy director at Eslava Plasticos.

Each element of a pack plays a crucial role in ensuring its recyclability at the end of its use phase. That is where RecyClass hopes that its guidelines can come into play, as they offer a coherent insight into how different components can be manufactured to be compatible with recycling and, eventually, be recycled back into high-end applications.

The PS Coloured Containers Guidelines were elaborated by experts from across the value chain who are represented in the respective RecyClass Technical Committee. By reporting on the behaviour of packaging in a PS containers’ recycling stream, the guidelines hope to help determine whether a package will be assigned full, low, or no compatibility.

Different components of a PS pack such as closure systems, lids, labels, or additives, are in the scope of the document. The first and foremost requirement is that the density of packaging that must be between 1 and 1,07 g/cm³.  The guideline does not cover, however, expanded polystyrene (EPS) nor extruded polystyrene (XPS).

The document adds to the existing guidelines covering polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, comprising all kinds of packaging whether flexible or rigid, including films, bottles, tubes as well as pouches, pots, and trays.

With the release of these new guidelines, RecyClass ultimately aims to accelerate the high-quality recycling of post-consumer styrenics packaging in Europe.