CPI publishes revised Design for Recyclability Guidelines 

31 August 2022

The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) is excited to publish the revised version of the Design for Recyclability Guidelines

Originally developed in 2019 following extensive consultation with the Paper Industry and the packaging supply chain, the CPI Design for Recyclability Guidelines provide design parameters which will help deliver recyclable fibre-based packaging for the industry and improved environmental and social impact in the supply chain. The aim of the revised CPI Guidelines is not only to optimise the recyclate entering the supply chain, but also to stimulate further innovation and technological developments in packaging materials and provide a direction of travel for future packaging design within the context of sustainability and resource efficiency.

The previous edition of the guidelines has now been thoroughly reviewed to provide further clarity to retailers and specifiers about what the industry considers easily recyclable. The revision was led by the CPI Recyclability Technical Expert Committee, whilst wider engagement was held with stakeholders in the UK and abroad. The revised version defines components of paper that can normally be dealt with by standard paper mills and those that can be problematic and, depending on their amount, composition and interaction with other components, can lead to undesired consequences. The guidelines also go a step further, by illustrating the distinction across fibre content, yield and paper content, as defined by the work carried out in Europe by the 4evergreen alliance (https://4evergreenforum.eu/). 

The Design for Recyclability Guidelines express the preferred position of the Paper Industry based on expert opinion, and they are not a definitive expression of the acceptability of packaging formats for recycling. As new Government proposals suggest that each packaging product will need to undergo an assessment to determine its recyclability before being released to the market and an increasing number of packaging producers and designers seek a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ answer for the recyclability of fibre-based packaging formats, CPI will soon be launching Papercycle, a wholly owned subsidiary of CPI, which will assess recyclability and deliver verification and certification services for fibre-based packaging. Papercycle is a fully automated tool that determines whether fibre-based packaging formats are recyclable in the UK, and which types of mills can reprocess the packaging. Apart from certification services, Papercycle will also offer recyclability assessments for product development services for any suppliers and designers who want to test a product before its launch.

At the same time, there are pan-European efforts to provide guidelines for paper and board packaging. There is a great deal of work happening at present, with stakeholder organisations working towards the goal of better defining recyclability and creating a framework of rules. This revised version of the CPI Guidelines has taken into consideration the technological and policy developments across Europe, and as work through the 4evergreen alliance develops, the CPI Guidelines will be as closely aligned as possible with the work being undertaken in Europe.

Dimitra Rappou, Director of Recycling of CPI said, “I am delighted to see the publication of the revised CPI Design for Recyclability Guidelines. This publication is a vital publication in guiding manufacturers around recyclability for the UK Market and looking at sustainability and resource efficiency for the future. In the coming months I look forward to the launch of Papercycle which will support companies determining the recyclability of their products and maximise the availability and quality for Paper for Recycling.” 


Contact for further information
Holly Whitbread | [email protected] | 01793 889612
Dimitra Rappou | [email protected] | 07789 122019

Notes to Editors
CPI is the leading trade association representing the UK’s Paper-based Industries, comprising paper and board manufacturers and converters, corrugated packaging producers, makers of soft tissue papers, and collectors of paper for recycling.

CPI represents an industry with an aggregate annual turnover of £12 billion, with 56,000 direct and a further 93,000 indirect employees.


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