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Q&A section

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Recyclability Assessments – Generalities

All general information is gathered in the brochure below, including a decision tree will help you find the suitable assessment for your packaging.

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is signed by all parties involved (i.e. RecyClass and auditor in case of Certification and RecyClass, lab and Technical Committee members in case of Technology/Product Approval), in the case of both assessment types. Confidentiality of all information relative to your packaging is therefore guaranteed with a signed NDA.
RecyClass provides an NDA template to support you.

Assessment: Technology/Product Approval

The first step is to contact the RecyClass team at info@recyclass.eu. We will evaluate with you the submitted packaging and give you some guidance on the approval relevance. Then, we will provide you an application form to fulfil with as much details as possible and an NDA template to sign.
Please find below a schematic representation of the full process.

Applicants can choose amongst the labs accredited by RecyClass, in accordance with the type of packaging that is to be tested. Please be aware, that not all accredited labs are able to evaluate all types of packaging. Labs will provide the applicants with a quote for the given sample testing. RecyClass members benefit from a dedicated quotation.

The quantity of samples that must be provided to the lab depends on the type of your packaging and is specifies in the RecyClass Recyclability Evaluation Protocols :

    • For flexible packaging: at least 10 kg of innovation material and 20 kg of control material.
    • For rigid packaging: at least 10 kg of innovation material (as packaging) and 25 kg of control material (as packaging).

These figures are the minimum quantities recommended by RecyClass. The lab will communicate the necessary amount in order to carry out the tests.

In case of a Product Approval, you can be asked to perform a sorting test with the RecyClass Sorting Protocol, in addition to the recyclability test. This step is necessary if your packaging is designed at least with one of the following features:

    • Large labels (covering > 50% of the surface) made from a different polymer
    • Full body sleeves
    • Perforated full body sleeves
    • Multi-layer structures (excluding PE/PP EVOH)
    • Metallisation (excluding on the inside/in the middle layer)
    • Non-NIR-detectable colours (also dark colours used for internal layers)
    • Different types of plastic used on front and back sides
    • Different types of plastic (rigids and flexibles) used in the package

In this case, additional costs will be incurred, of which the Technical Committee will inform the application before starting the testing process.

RecyClass members benefit from a special quotation in the accredited labs that perform the Recyclability Protocol.
In addition, Platinum membership covers the cost of one application fee (2.500 euro) per year.

PET bottle testing falls under the scope of the European PET Bottle Platform (EPBP). EPBP has established several test procedures to assess the influence of PET bottle innovations - such as barrier materials, resin formulations, additives, and non-PET components in or on PET bottles - on r-PET recycling processes. Please refer to EPBP website to learn more about the PET bottles Recyclability Protocols.
Evaluation protocols for PET trays are currently under development by PETCORE Europe.

Assessment: Certification

A product approval evaluates an innovative packaging, containing characteristics not covered yet in RecyClass Design for Recycling guidelines. This kind of approval leads to lab testing, as described above, and to an official recognition by RecyClass (approval letter).

If all the characteristics of your packaging are already covered by the guidelines, you are eligible for the Recyclability Certification. This audit certification allows you to label your packaging with the logo of the corresponding final ranking (from A to F) and to use the allowed claims to communicate about your product’s recyclability.

The RecyClass team and the Certification Bodies will guide you in the process.

Design for Recycling assessment is a qualitive assessment of all features of your final packaging. As a result, your packaging will receive a class ranking from A to F, where grades A to C are awarded to recyclable packaging. Upon the completed Certification, RecyClass will provide you with a logo, corresponding letter and a guidance document on how the use of logos and claims in your communications. The issued certificate is valid for 3 years for the European market.

Recyclability Rate assessment is a quantitative assessment of all the steps in a recycling process: collection, sorting, and recycling compatibility of the packaging design. This is a country-specific evaluation, given that in each country the collection, sorting and recycling infrastructures vary. As a result, your packaging will a rate (%) of the recyclable content in your packaging. Additionally, you will also receive a logo with the corresponding class ranking (A-F) and a guidance document on how to use the logo and how to claim recyclability. The certificate is valid for 3 years for the specific geographical area for which the Certification was acquired.

The interested parties must first contact the certification body of choosing and submit the completed application form, along with the self-assessment report of your product obtained via the RecyClass tool. The auditor will review your application, offer you a quotation for the certification process and provide you with an NDA to sign.

The applicant must then provide the product specification sheet, reporting all details of the packaging to be certified and send the samples to the auditor as requested. The auditor guides the applicants in this step.

Following the completion of the assessment by the auditor, you will receive a detailed certificate report and a final certificate.

During the entire process, feel free to contact the RecyClass team to obtain support. Find more details about the entire procedure in the documentation published on RecyClass website.

In case of the design for recycling assessment, you are free to choose the auditor amongst the list of accredited Certification Bodies.

In case of the recyclability rate assessment, as it is a local assessment, you must choose the auditor according to the country (or countries) of interest. Each Certification Body is accredited for one or several countries. Under the Certification Body logos, you will find which regions the Bodies are accredited for.

At least 10 samples must be sent to the auditor. Please note that additional samples can be requested if needed. The auditor will guide you on this step.

Additional tests can be requested by the auditor. Specifically, a sorting test is requested if your packaging possesses at least one of these features:

    • Large labels (covering > 50% of the surface) made from a different polymer
    • Full body sleeves
    • Perforated full body sleeves
    • Multi-layer structures (excluding PE/PP EVOH)
    • Metallisation (excluding on the inside/in the middle layer)
    • Non-NIR-detectable colours (also dark colours used for internal layers)
    • Different types of plastic used on front and back sides
    • Different types of plastic (rigids and flexibles) used in the package

A washing test can be requested to verify that the adhesive and the label are easily removable from the packaging.

If any additional tests are required to perform the certification, the auditor must always inform the applicant first.

A given number of Certification application fees (150 euro each) is covered by the RecyClass membership. If you are a Bronze member, 1 fee per year is included; if you are a Gold member, 3 fees per year are included; if you are a Platinum member, 5 fees per year are included. The cost of the Certification itself is decided by the individual Certification Bodies.

Yes, in any case you will receive the RecyClass logo reporting the recyclability class achieved by the packaging (from A to F), the associated certificate and the audit report.

RecyClass will provide you with the guide 'Use of Claims Document' on how to use the logo (size, format, colour, frame, etc.) in accordance with your communication channel (social media publication, packaging impression, etc.). Included within this document is a list of authorized claims to support you on correctly reporting your Certification publicly.

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