Ecodesign guidelines paper and board Packaging
Recommendations for an optimized utilisation of paper and board packaging within a circular economy.
Basic evaluation on the recyclability : 85/15 rule
Packs containing 85 % of paper : pay the P&B green dot, are allowed in the paper for recycling stream and are allowed to have the paper recycling logo.
Aside this basic evaluation it is valuable to take in account the following guidelines, when developing packaging :
- Aim for a homogeneous composition as far as possible.
- Minimise the use of other materials without however loosing the functionality of the packaging.
- Aim for an easy separation of the different materials used.
- The used materials (adhesives, coatings, films and closures) should be as easy as possible to remove.
- Avoid the use of materials which are too fragmented in the recycling process and which are thus difficult to remove. Remark : in the production process of packaging made from paper for recycling there is no deinking step, which means a good deinkability is not a requirement (is the case for graphic paper).
- Optimise weight and formats.
- Provide clear intuitive communication towards the consumers on how to separate the different packaging parts after use, if the end user needs to do so.
- Avoid double sided not water soluble coatings. For a good recovery of the fibres, water needs to have access to the fibres.
- Avoid wet strength paper and board qualities. They do not dissolve in the standard recycling process.
- Use safe chemical substances. The used chemicals are ending up in solid waste, water effluents or in the product itself. Avoid the use of: substances of very high concern (SVHC), carcinogenic mutagenic and reprotoxic substances (CMR) and the persistent, bio-accumulating toxic substances (PBT). Use low migration inks for packaging.
- Aim for pack designs which are easy to sort in automated sorting systems. The paper for recycling flow coming from households is mainly sorted out in a fraction used for making graphical paper and in packaging. This sorting is performed in different ways. Valuable to verify if the developed packaging is accurately sorted out with automated optical sorting equipment.
- Choose paper and board made from recycled fibres or based on virgin fibres sourced from sustainably managed forests. Both are necessary and complementary.
When developing paper for recycling policies it is also important to take in account a number of general eco-management rules in order to favour an optimal reuse of the paper fibres :
- Paper and board need to be collected in a separate stream. For the paper and board stream coming from households this is in place. More attention may be given to the paper for recycling originating from businesses and public institutions. Develop clear instructions for the cleaning staff. Avoid where possible moist absorption in the paper for recycling flow.
- The local authorities need to provide clear sorting instructions towards the households.
- Aim for a household use in a way the paper and board can be recycled. Communicate on avoiding unnecessary contamination or tearing in small pieces of cartonboard. Small pieces of board are difficult to sort in the two factions graphical paper and packaging.
- Favour the sorting in standardised qualities, which allows an optimal use of the fibres in the paper for recycling supply chains.
- Choose actors in the chain which are serious on respecting the environmental prescriptions.
- Transport has an impact on the environment. Avoid where possible unnecessary transport of paper for recycling.