Recyclability Guidelines

Over the past six months, a subcommittee of CPI’s Recovered Paper Council has worked with WRAP and other packaging supply chain stakeholders to develop a set of Recyclability Guidelines to help retailers and designers understand the issues surrounding the recyclability of paper and board-based packaging and to encourage them to specify and design packaging that is most easily processed by paper mills.

Over recent months, CPI has received an increasing number of enquiries from major brands and retailers, asking that we judge whether or not particular packaging formats would be considered recyclable by the industry.

Paper is widely acknowledged to be the leading bio-based, sustainable, renewable and recyclable packaging medium and it is important that the Paper Industry preserves, supports and builds this perception. Recent concerns about the environmental impact of plastic provides a particular opportunity for paper packaging to replace some plastic packaging, but it also creates risk for the long term quality of recyclate.

New applications and composite formats that provide paper and board with additional characteristics, such as water or grease resistance or gas barrier properties can make fibre-based packaging more challenging to recycle. Moreover, food contamination on recycled material adds a further challenge for recycling. BS EN643 provides overarching guidance on recyclate quality but cannot be used to judge the recyclability of packaging on a case for case basis.

In order to provide a framework for better clarity for retailers and specifiers about what the industry considers easily recyclable, and to optimise recyclate entering the supply chain and to help create impetus for future technological development in packaging materials, CPI, working with members and others, has developed these new guidelines.

They will be formally launched in the coming weeks and will be available on the CPI website and in hard copy. The project was undertaken in partnership with WRAP and they will be launching a web-based version of the guidelines in tandem with CPI.

For further information contact Simon Weston on 07887 641481 or email