Driving Recyclability of Plastic Packaging with Harmonised Protocols
University of Ghent and Hochschule Magdeburg – Stendal review RecyClass PE & PP Recyclability Evaluation Protocols
Prof. Rageart (then UGent, now University of Maastricht) and Prof. Gerke (Hochschule Magdeburg – Stendal) peer-reviewed the RecyClass Recyclability Evaluation Protocols for PE and PP films and containers to harmonise them, make them more robust and bring more transparency to how they are elaborated.
Professor Gerke commented: “These two aspects are key drivers for increasing recyclability of plastic products.”
The objective of this revision was to, additionally, improve the procedures and receive academic feedback on how to assess recyclability in a transparent and verifiable manner. The peer-review allowed to bring more clarity for some procedures, introduce the definition of control material, harmonise the protocols, and better define the scope of the protocols.
“The RecyClass protocols provide a clear metric for companies to assess the impact of their Design for Recycling efforts,” said Professor Ragaert, “simply by existing, they help pave the way for increased circularity of plastics,” she added.
RecyClass Recyclability Evaluation Protocols, are the basis for elaborating Design For Recycling Guidelines which in turn provide information on how different components of packaging must be manufactured to be compatible with recycling. Design for Recycling Guidelines, fundamental in granting recyclability certification, are developed for the most common plastic packaging types with an existing recycling stream in Europe, whether flexible or rigid, for food or non-food contact applications.
This peer-review of the RecyClass Recyclability Evaluation Protocols was only the starting point on the way towards further improving and harmonising the procedures. RecyClass’ objective is to continuously refine the different procedures.
RecyClass Recyclability Evaluation Protocols will be revised on yearly basis by the respective Technical Committees to fit at best the state of the art plastic recycling processes and requirements 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.