RecyClass revises Recyclability Evaluation Protocols and Design for Recycling Guidelines following accurate reviews
25 Jan 2024

Following the findings of 18 testing campaigns commissioned in 2023, RecyClass updated its Recyclability Evaluation protocols and released a new set of Design for Recycling Guidelines for all plastic packaging streams[1]. The latest set provides the industry with the most up-to-date recommendations for improving the recyclability of plastic packaging.

Several components have been evaluated via independent testing facilities to investigate the behaviour of common packaging technologies during the sorting and recycling processes. These tests were carried out according to standardised testing methods, as described in the RecyClass Recyclability Evaluation Protocols[2].

Following the alignment with the Associations of Plastics Recyclers (APR)[3], the RecyClass Recyclability Evaluation Protocols have been updated to improve the processing conditions and characterization of the materials. New testing procedures for PET bottles, and adhesives applied on PET bottles were also developed[4].

Since sorting is the foundation for high-quality recycling, RecyClass carried out trials on non-PE decorations on HDPE bottles, with extensive coverage as well as on PP and HDPE rigid rolling packaging, to further clarify the sorting performances of different plastics[5].

Notable additions to the Guidelines include a more detailed classification of ink binders and AlOx coatings with PVOH primer in PO films, as well as of PU-based materials for laminating adhesives in PP flexible packaging.

As for rigid packaging, the MFI of PE closures used on PE containers has been introduced. In addition, thermoplastic elastomers were classified as fully compatible with recycling for both HDPE and PP streams and the importance of label removability in HDPE rigid packaging[6] has been equally underlined.

‘Thanks to the continuous and dedicated collaboration with scientific laboratories, RecyClass continues providing science-based and standardised tools to guide the value chain in the transition towards plastics circularity.’ commented Paolo Glerean, Chairman of RecyClass.

The latest design recommendations have been used to update the RecyClass Online Tool and the RecyClass Recyclability Certification Scheme. In parallel, new testing campaigns are already underway and will further complement the recommendations found in the RecyClass Design for Recycling Guidelines.


[1] RecyClass Design for Recycling Guidelines can be found here.

[2] RecyClass Recyclability Evaluation Protocols for plastic packaging are available on the website.

[3] APR and RecyClass Work to Align Design for Recycling Guidance

[4] The PET Thermoform Taskforce has recently been launched and will provide guidelines and future testing procedures for PET trays.

[5] A revised version of the Sorting Protocol will be released soon.

[6] Results will be announced in 2024.


About RecyClass

RecyClass is a non-profit, cross-industry initiative advancing recyclability, bringing transparency to the origin of plastic waste and establishing a harmonized approach toward recycled plastic calculation & traceability in Europe. RecyClass develops Recyclability Evaluation Protocols and scientific testing methods for innovative plastic packaging materials which serve as the base for the Design for Recycling Guidelines and the RecyClass Online Tool. RecyClass established Recyclability Certifications for plastic packaging, Recycling Process Certification and Recycled Plastics Traceability Certification for plastic products.

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