New recyclability guidelines – developed by Cepi, CITPA, ACE, and FEFCO – seeks to give guidance for designers to ensure functionality goes hand in hand with recyclability.

The use of paper for packaging purposes continues to grow, partially due to its perceived environmental performance but also to increasing demand related to e-commerce and delivery services. There remains a strong expectation from consumers, brands, and retailers for packaging to be made from recyclable packaging material. And, whilst packaging recycling rates of 85% have reportedly already been achieved, the paper value chain continues to look to improve.

In order to achieve even higher recycling targets while expanding the functionality of paper-based packaging, the author organisations argue, it is important to start from the design-phase – considering both the intended purpose as well as the end-of-life.

“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 on what this means and requires in practice,” said Ulrich Leberle, Raw Materials Director at Cepi.

The authors reportedly intend for these new European guidelines to become the go-to document for packaging professionals to learn more about the implications of certain converting steps on the recyclability of used paper-based packaging. The signatories of the document hope to act as a “source of inspiration” for innovation and the introduction of new techniques. The authors say that they are convinced that widespread awareness among the value chain can truly improve the recyclability of products. Further, they argue that these guidelines will help meet national protocols and requirements, while further encouraging circularity within the industry.

Copies of the guidelines can be downloaded here.