Plastic packaging can be designed for recycling - Plastic Zero develops a guideline
25 June 2014
Recyclability of primary plastic packaging can be increased
considerably by applying a handful simple criteria to the design.
To honour this potential, COOP Denmark A/S, Dansk Supermarked, Arla
Foods, Aage Vestergaard Larsen A/S, the Danish Technological
Institute and the City of Copenhagen are jointly developing a
guideline with simple criteria for design for recyclability of
primary plastic packaging.
The cooperation around the development of the guideline:
- Arla Foods, a global dairy company and a
co-operative owned by dairy farmers. They have production
facilities in 12 countries and sales offices in a further 30, with
a total of more than 18,000 employees.
- Coop Denmark A/S, a consumer goods retailer
owned by its 1.4 million members and with more than 36,000
- Dansk Supermarked is likewise a consumer goods
retailer with 1,200 stores in four countries and a total of 32,000
people employed in Denmark and further 9,000 employees in Sweden,
Germany and Poland.
- Aage Vestergaard Larsen A/S, a reprocessing
company with specialty in regeneration, grinding, microgrinding,
extrusion and compounding of plastics.
- The Danish Technological Institute develops,
applies and disseminates research and technologically based
knowledge for the Danish and International business
- EU LIFE + Plastic Zero project, City of
Copenhagen, the capital municipality in Denmark.
Recycling of plastic packaging into new products saves virgin
resources, saves energy and avoids negative impacts on the
environment and climate. Today 22, 3 % of all plastic
packaging in Denmark are collected for recycling (Eurostat, 2011)
but only around half of this is designed in a way where it can be
sorted and reprocessed into a quality, where the recyclate is
actually used for new products.
Through the Plastic Zero project it has become clear, that one
barrier for improved recycling rates and for improved quality of
reprocessed plastics is, that a considerable amount of packaging
does not fit the current recycling technologies. It may be due to a
design with composite materials (plastic as well as non-plastic),
heavy colours or too many residues.
The overall aim of the guideline is to share the knowledge that
it only requires few, simple criteria to improve the recyclability
of plastic packaging. The guideline may become an important tool
for procurement within the consumer goods retail sector that sells
millions of products packed in plastic. Another objective is to
have designers, manufacturers and the packaging industry to adopt
the criteria for recyclability of plastic packaging.
On 19 June 2014 a workshop with focus
on design for recyclability and the use of the guideline was
conducted in cooperation with ForceTechnology. Please refer to the
The draft guideline indicates which criteria the packaging must
meet in order to perform within four categories: High
recyclability; good recyclability;
uncertain recyclability and not suitable
(unfit) for recycling.
Please refer to the ranking model
The ranking model comes with an annex
that provides specific guidance on compatibility with respect to
different plastic material compositions.
The criteria within the manual are in
line with the ambitions within the flagship initiative under
the Europe 2020 strategy - A resource efficient Europe and the
EU Directive on packaging and packaging waste.
The final manual will be available on
the Plastic Zero homepage July 2014.