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The 4evergreen alliance has updated its Guidance on the Improved Collection and Sorting of Fibre-Based Packaging tool to endorse two separate streams for fibre-based packaging, ensuring that the packaging is directed to the correct recycling mills.

Following its original publication in September 2022, the document has been upgraded with simple referencing in mind. For the first time, it has undergone an external stakeholder consultation as part of a comprehensive review.

The alliance reports that the content of the guidance now aligns with other 4evergreen tools in a bid to develop a ‘comprehensive toolbox with a consistent terminology and understanding that works at all stages of the packaging value chain’.

Its new information recommends the collection of fibre-based packaging in two separate streams – a ‘blue bin’ for paper, board, and fibre-based packaging for standard and deinking paper mills; and a ‘yellow bin’ for specific packaging types requiring specialized paper mills, such as used beverage cartons and fibre-based composite packaging.

Separating household kerbside collection by source is hoped to unlock effective recycling amongst consumers and improve Europe’s recycling system by guiding fibre-based packaging to the right recycling mills.

‘Routes’ from collection to recycling at dedicated paper and board mills are also laid out as part of the new guidance, with recommendations to improve collection also provided. It is anticipated that key topics will be revised next year, including on-the-go packaging for the HORECA sector and a deep dive into sorting.

“With this streamlined document, we’ve paved the way for a more accessible and user-friendly resource for fibre-based packaging actors,” says Michel Willems, European business coordinator at Smurfit Kappa Recycling and co-lead of WS3. “It’s a significant step towards fostering consistency and harmonisation in collection systems - locally and at national and European levels.”

Other facets of the 4evergreen alliance’s toolbox include the first part of the Recyclability Evaluation Protocol for fibre-based packaging, which seeks to harmonize the evaluation of fibre-based packaging products and the scoring of their recyclability at recycled mills. Further parts to cover specialized and deinking mills are currently in progress.

Meanwhile, the second version of its Circularity by Design Guideline advises designers and manufacturers in their pursuit of materials and components compatible with standard and specialized recycling processes. This includes used beverage cartons and similar packages.

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