RecyClass says that the post-consumer recyclability of rigid polystyrene packaging can be tested with its new Recyclability Evaluation Protocol for Polystyrene (PS) Containers.

The guidelines are designed for companies looking to assess if rigid PS packaging (excluding XPS and EPS) used for food and beverage applications, like yoghurt pots, is compatible with post-consumer recycling in Europe.

The Protocol’s goal is to guarantee the recyclability of PS packaging, while maintaining the protection properties of packaged goods, ensuring the proper functioning of the PS recycling process, and encouraging innovation.

According to RecyClass, the Protocol outlines a comprehensive methodology that allows packaging innovations to be tested on a laboratory scale and to examine how it impacts the recycled PS. The document allows for evaluating the recyclability of different components including non-PS layers, coatings, attachments, closure systems, labels, adhesives, printing ink technologies, and compatibilizers.

The Recyclability Evaluation Protocol for Polystyrene (PS) Containers adds to the existing Protocols for HDPE and PP containers. RecyClass has also previously released recycling guidelines for designing coloured PS containers.

RecyClass adds that the Protocols are important for improving the recycling rates of PS packaging in Europe. AS the polystyrene value chain aims to build a circular economy, initiatives like Styrenics Circular Solutions (SCS) are working on technologies such as super-cleaning to boost the quality of recycling polystyrene.

David Eslava, managing director at Eslava Plasticos and chairman of the RecyClass PS Technical Committee, comments: “Ensuring recyclability of PS packaging, beyond increasing its collection, is indispensable to improve its end-of-life management and to unlock a new market for recycled materials.”

Dr. rer. nat Fabian Lüth, a representative of the RecyClass PS Technical Committee, adds: “The document aims to represent as accurately as possible how the PS recycling process should work at an industrial scale to allow PS containers to get recycled in high-value applications.”

Last month, RecyClass received a positive evaluation by the European co-operation for Accreditation (EA), which means its Certification Bodies can now begin the application to be accredited for Recycled Plastics Traceability Certification.