CERREC claims to be the ‘first and only’ certification mark for recyclable cardboard and paper packaging, and intends to help verify companies’ on-pack environmental claims with randomized recyclability testing and an instant link to product information via QR code.

Launched in 2023, CERREC aims to combat misleading environmental claims and ‘greenwashing’ in the packaging sector. Alongside its ‘comprehensive’ advise service, its certification process hopes to solidify trust between consumers and brands by establishing standardized regulations and transparent certification.

Companies can submit a request to CERREC and provide a sample of the original packaging, which is then said to be tested in independent, accredited testing laboratories according to EU guidelines.

If the testing is successful, the company in question receives a certificate from CERREC, which includes a 24-month guarantee. It will then be subjected to random checks within the warranty period in order to test the pack’s recyclability; as such, the process is set to prove that a pack is as recyclable as it claims to be, verify a company’s sustainability claims, and offer a ‘significant’ competitive advantage on the market.

Also, all certified products are given a CERREC database QR code that consumers can scan in-store to instantly receive information about the packaging. The transparent database is set to increase consumer trust in the environmental claims made by companies.

CERREC certification costs between €0.005 and €0.04 per package, the company says, which covers the costs of the testing laboratories, the administrative burden, and the warranty risk.

A similar process came to light last year when the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) revealed Papercycle, its online recyclability assessment and certification tool for fibre-based packaging materials and products. Using upcoming legislation and the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI)’s recyclability test method as guidelines, it conducts a laboratory test and provides a technical review service in order to help producers gauge the recyclability of their packaging.

EuCertPlast and RecyClass have also sought to improve trust in recycling claims by combining their audit schemes for plastics recyclers and forming the RecyClass Recycling Process Certification. Both audit schemes are based on the EN 15343 standard and aim to trace the origin of waste in recycling processes for plastics.

More recently, the European Organisation for Packaging and the Environment (EUROPEN), the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE), CEPI, and other packaging organizations called for a “simplified procedure” to be introduced under the EU’s Green Claims Directive in order to simplify the verification process for sustainability claims that are based on recognized methodologies or do not require a full life cycle assessment.

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