While the current recycling focus of the UK government is mainly on food packaging, Plastics Recycling Charity, Recoup would like to see more attention going out to other packaging categories as well. To that end, the organisation has developed a suite of case studies, with their most recent offering covering plastics packaging in the Beauty and Personal Care Sectors.
According to Paul East, Packaging Sustainability Manager at Recoup, case studies are an effective method of passing on the recyclability message. The use of examples can be a powerful way to illustrate to users and designers of plastic packaging how Design For Recyclability principles can be applied to ensure that their packaging has the best chance of being recycled, he noted.
“At times of increasingly challenging recycling targets both in the UK and across Europe, there is an ever-increasing importance in understanding the range of plastic packaging which can be recycled, rather than go to landfill and incineration,” he said.
Each case study highlights how items are packaged, what materials and components are used, how they can be improved, as well as labelling. The first question asked is, how they would perform through the collection sorting and recycling process of mechanical recycling.
Issues such as good and bad packaging designs, the reasons why this is so, the key principles when considering recyclability and how improvements can be made to ensure maximum recovery whilst minimising the impact on the environment are all explored.
Recoup sees a need for better pack guidance on bathroom and beauty products. They are already less likely to end up in the recycling bin, as consumers tend not to have one in their bathrooms, said the organisation.
At the same time, there is little awareness and education in recycling of these products compared to that of food packaging and few Beauty and Personal Care products contain clear recycling instructions on the labelling.
Recoup, through their Pledge2Recycle Plastics initiative also aim to encourage Local Authorities to instruct citizens on the range of plastic products which can be recycled kerbside including shampoo and conditioner bottles and have a free suite of resources to assist with this at www.pledge2recycle.co.uk.