Recoup’s recently released update of its Recyclability by Design publication has been expanded to include guidelines for recyclability of plastic film.
Among others, it features RecyClass’ recyclability tables on designing recyclable plastic film packaging. Guidance includes the importance of the separation of materials, avoidance of laminates and the greater recyclability credentials of PE and PP film when compared to other materials.
In the UK, packaging films have a poor track record when it comes to collection and recycling. Although some 400,000 tonnes of plastic film are produced annually in the UK Recoup’s annual UK Household Plastics Collection Survey reported in 2019 that only 16% of UK Local Authorities list film as being collected kerbside. This low service rate is, in part, due to the challenges this material causes collection and sorting machinery, its lightweight nature, transportation challenges and the ultimate low value, as well as the high contamination rates of this type of material.
If the recycling targets for 2025 are to be achieved, however, it is essential to ensure an adequate supply of recyclable plastic waste.
“There is an ever-increasing importance in finding sources of plastics to recycle rather than go to non-circular end destinations such as landfill and incineration,” said Paul East, Recoup’s Packaging Sustainability Manager.
The guidelines in the Recyclability by Design publication aim to address the issue at the beginning of the packaging product’s lifecycle, rather than at the end.
It provides advice to users and designers of plastic packaging on how to minimise resource use and maximise the scope for recovery during the packaging design stage.
RECycling of Used Plastics Limited (RECOUP) is a charity and leading authority providing expertise and guidance across the plastics recycling value chain. The updated Recyclability by Design document is available to download for free on the Recoup website.