Making plastic packaging genuinely recyclable hinges on clear guidance for the industry. With that goal in mind, RecyClass developed guidelines for designing coloured polystyrene (PS) containers.
Any company wishing to verify the recyclability of its PS packaging can now consult the guidelines or use the free online RecyClass tool  which incorporates the RecyClass Design for Recycling Guidelines.
“As polystyrene packaging is not widely recycled in the EU yet, development of this new guideline is pivotal in getting recycling of polystyrene-based packaging off the ground”, said David Eslava, RecyClass PS Technical Committee Chairman & Deputy Director at Eslava Plasticos, he continued: It is a very necessary step to give a clear direction to the industry”.
Each element of packaging plays a crucial role in ensuring its recyclability at the end of its use phase. That is where Design for Recycling Guidelines come into play as they offer a coherent insight into how different components must be manufactured to be compatible with recycling to, eventually, be recycled back into high-end applications.
PS Coloured Containers Guideline was elaborated by the experts from across the value chain represented in the respective RecyClass Technical Committee. By reporting on the behaviour of packaging in a PS containers’ recycling stream the guideline enables to determine whether a package will be assigned full, low, or no compatibility. Different components of a PS packaging such as closure systems, lids, labels, or additives, are in the scope of the document. The first and foremost requirement is that the density of packaging that must be between 1 and 1,07 g/cm³. The guideline does not cover, however, the expanded polystyrene (EPS) nor extruded polystyrene (XPS).
The document adds to the existing guidelines covering polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, comprising all kinds of packaging whether flexible or rigid, including films, bottles, tubes as well as pouches, pots, and trays.
The RecyClass PS Technical Committee works equally on the PS Recyclability Protocol which will allow for scientific testing innovative technologies and packaging to continuously update the guideline which is a living document. Such an approach allows the industry to be innovative while at the same time ensuring recyclability.
With this guideline, RecyClass aims at accelerating the high-quality recycling of post-consumer styrenics packaging in Europe.
RecyClass is a comprehensive cross-industry initiative that works to advance plastic packaging recyclability and to establish a harmonized approach towards recycled content calculation and its traceability in Europe. Activities within RecyClass include the development of Recyclability Evaluation Protocols and scientific testing of innovative materials which serve as the base for the Design for Recycling guidelines and the free online tool. RecyClass offers Recyclability Certifications and Recycled Content Traceability Certification for plastic packaging.