What is Papercycle?
Papercycle is recyclability assessment and certification service dedicated to determining the recyclability of fibre-based packaging formats and materials in the UK, including which types of mills can reprocess specific types of packaging.
Why has Papercycle been developed?
Confirming the recyclability of a product is becoming an area of great interest for the recycling industry, policymakers as well as the public.
Whilst in principle all fibre-based packaging is recyclable, innovations in material development can make some products more challenging to recycle. This means basic recyclability assessments based on visual or a simple compositional analysis are no longer sufficient to capture the complexities of the recycling process and accurately reflect the true recyclability of the packaging. Without a comprehensive assessment there could be unintended environmental consequences, such as packaging being sent to a recycling facility where it cannot be processed, increased waste and contamination, potentially jeopardising the move to a more circular economy, and disrupting the recycling supply loop for business.
To address this, CPI engaged extensively with stakeholders across the paper industry who are advising on permissible non-fibre levels and parameters, whilst considering local and European industry standards. At the same time, the CPI Design for Recyclability Guidelines
provide design parameters, which if generally adhered to, should deliver recyclable fibre-based packaging for the industry and improved environmental and social responsibility in the supply chain. The guidance and the recyclability assessment enable producers to innovate armed with ‘real knowledge’ of the recycling loop, which will help keep fibre-based materials from packaging in use for as long as possible, contributing to a more sustainable future.
Papercycle has integrated this laboratory test into its services, using a methodology endorsed by the wider European paper industry. This streamlined process ensures a clear and efficient assessment of packaging recyclability, providing valuable insights for manufacturers, designers, and policymakers alike.
Where can it support?
With the Extended Producer Responsibility reforms underway, Papercycle’s recyclability assessment and certification service could enable a standardised labelling system where customers can receive a ‘recycle’ label as will be required by the UK’s mandatory recyclability labelling on packaging. Packaging certified as “recyclable” will also likely attract lower Producer Responsibility (modulated) Fees associated with complying with the reformed Packaging Waste Regulations.
Businesses can thus adopt sustainable and recyclable packaging solutions that not only enhance brand reputation but also align with consumer preferences for eco-friendly packaging. This responsible approach can lead to potential cost reductions related to waste management or regulatory compliance, while contributing to a more sustainable future. It can also help educate consumers on what packaging is recyclable and how to recycle it.