News & Updates Sustainability

How a washable paper backpack is keeping festivals sustainable

With summer underway and Glastonbury on the horizon, packaging specialists Paper Bag Co have re-launched their Festival Bag for 2023, the primary material in this bag is 100% washable paper, and is filled with eco-friendly alternatives to some of the most common items found at most festivals.

What is in the Festival Bag?

Last year the festival bag was used by members of the public up and down the country including very special guests at Boomtown Fair who got access to a special edition of the bag.

What’s included: Stylish zip lock rucksack derived from paper, foldable wheat cup, bamboo compressed face towels, dissolvable body wash, toothpaste tablets, natural wax earplugs, biodegradable cornstarch poncho, bamboo toothbrush, biodegradable glitter and eco-toilet roll… everything you need to enjoy a festival or camping trip without leaving a trace.

Why launch the Festival Bag?

Paper Bag Co are one of the UK’s leading providers of paper bags and given the immense impact that single use plastics and products can have on the environment, they wanted to shine a light on festival waste and the impact it can have. The festival bag is made from a sustainable and environmentally friendly material base that helps festival goers have a great time without tonnes of waste.

Jon Marling, Paper Bag Co’s Founder and Managing Director is excited to see the bags out there in 2023. “We love these bags! and you may well spot them at a festival near you as we are nearly sold out. We wanted to shine a light on more sustainable products and alternatives to some of the common items used at festivals and often the packaging used within these items produces as much waste as the items themselves, all the materials in the bag are either recyclable or compostable, and will help keep our festivals clear of waste”

The festival bag is still available for order and at £39.95 per bag and contents, it is the perfect gift for any festival or camping enthusiast.


News & Updates Sustainability

Antalis Packaging helps Craft Drinks deliver occasion-ready packaging

Designed by the two latest recruits to Antalis’ Smart Packaging Centre (SPC), the new packaging maximises customer experience while minimising packaging.

Tapp’d Cocktails was launched in 2019 with a goal to shake up the ready-to-drink cocktail industry. Its target audience is Gen Z, which is why the company was keen to work with Ciara and Zoe from Antalis’ SPC on its packaging design– two newly-qualified packaging technologists who also happen to fall within Tapp’d Cocktail’s target demographic.

An important product line for the company – which sells its premade drinks direct to bars and supermarkets as well as via a TV shopping channel and its own online shop – is its gift sets, containing a selection of three pre-made cocktails in bottles along with a martini glass.

While the company’s existing packaging was perfectly functional, it was failing to deliver the level of customer experience they were looking for or present the Tapp’d Cocktail brand story as well as they would have liked. After their existing supplier failed to offer a solution, Antalis Account Manager Alan Stanley and the team at the SPC stepped in.

Taking the existing gift set packaging as a starting point, Ciara and Zoe tweaked the packaging design before addressing the company’s branding concerns with new artwork that, as well as better supporting the brand identity and story, offers flexibility of use.

Made from 180gsm kraft e-flute, the new, digitally printed packaging protects the contents while a removable sleeve, made from a 450-micron white back folding boxboard and digitally printed with promotional or special occasion artwork, allows the generic gift set packaging to be updated with minimal cost and effort while enhancing customer experience.

Packaging Account Manager at Antalis, Alan Stanley, comments: “This project is a great example of how a simple yet thoughtful packaging design can deliver exceptional customer experience. It also demonstrates how Antalis is much more than just a packaging supplier – we provide a genuine partnership experience that makes customers’ lives easier. Keeping the gift box generic, albeit with strong branding, means that there is no need to store multiple versions of it; instead the new, removable sleeves can be digitally printed as required, ensuring efficient use of material and keeping storage costs to a minimum. ”


News & Updates Sustainability

Reuse and refill: success, challenges, and learnings

In theory, reusable and refillable packaging solutions are two of several pathways to achieving circularity, reducing waste, and tackling pollution. So, why hasn’t every trial or pilot been successful? Nestlé’s Jodie Roussell, Global Public Affairs Lead for Packaging and Sustainability, and Antje Shaw, Global Packaging Sustainability Manager, reflect on the firsthand knowledge the company has gained and set out a roadmap for future success.

World Refill Day 2023 offers an opportunity to reflect on the successes, challenges, and opportunities for developing sustainable approaches to packaging.

Reuse and refill at scale requires cooperation between manufacturers, retailers, start-ups, service providers, and policymakers to drive the necessary changes at a systems level. Reusable packaging and packaging-free delivery systems offer a significant opportunity to reduce the volume of packaging manufactured and the post-consumer packaging waste that needs to be managed by infrastructure systems.

This is why, as part of the Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty, we support government negotiators’ efforts to enable reuse and refill. We already advocate jointly for reuse and refill with over 100 other companies who endorsed the Coalition’s vision including: 

• Moving away from single-use plastics in favor of reusable and more durable solutions

• Designing products and systems for all plastics to be reused or recycled at scale

• Accelerating the uptake of new business and delivery models at scale

For our own part, we have run over 20 pilots in 12 countries with various solutions with external partners and key customers in North America, Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Southeast Asia. So far, regrettably, repurchase rates and return rates on all these pilot projects have fallen below expectations and none has proven to be scalable. We have learned two key reasons for this.

Firstly, consumers expect high levels of ease of use and convenience, all at low cost. Consumers perceive the return of packaging or empty containers for refill as an extra effort and we have not yet found solutions that are sufficiently appealing for consumers to adopt this new way of shopping.

Secondly, there are specific challenges in hot and humid geographies, where pilots have failed due to concerns around food safety, shelf-life, and quality.

We will continue our research and pilots across the globe, building on our previous learnings, and continue to roll out reuse and refill solutions where possible.

We have also learned that no company can build this system alone and we know there is more work to do with retail and supply chain partners. This is why we are we are engaged in projects with value chain partners at the World Economic Forum on measurement metrics, PR3 on reuse system standards, the Consumer Goods Forum and Ellen MacArthur Foundation to share learnings and help advance the adoption of reuse and refill at scale.

Finally, we seek to share our practical insights with governments, to request enabling conditions that support the scaling up of voluntary pilots and best practices. Based on our learnings from the pilots, these enabling conditions for reuse and refill at scale include:

1. Legislation at the international level for a product category by product category approach to reuse and refill systems for packaged consumer goods. This legislation should recognize the differences between foods, beverages, personal care, household products, etc.

2. Decarbonization of logistics systemstowards carbon-neutral options.

3. Support for investments to modify industrial infrastructure, like investments in large-scale sorting, reverse logistics infrastructure, standardized pooled packaging, packaging return systems/bins, or regional washing facilities.

4. Review of competition laws that may hinder collective approaches to standardized shared packaging pools.

5. Implementation of global standards on systems hygiene, safety, and quality management.

6. Retroplan of a minimum time frame required for the transition; for example, a ten-year transition.

We will continue to innovate, research, pilot, and partner around the world, building on our previous learnings, and continue to roll out reuse and refill solutions where possible.


News & Updates Sustainability

How did Brazil achieve its 100% aluminium can recycling rate – and can it be replicated in the EU?

Brazil recently became the first country in the world to achieve a 100% recycling rate for aluminum cans, according to reports. How was this landmark achieved, and how can this success be replicated in Europe? Cátilo Cândido, executive president of Abralatas (the Brazilian Association of Aluminum Can Manufacturers), tells us more.

Our recycling model is mature, very well structured and with sufficient capillarity to access and process all UBC´s discarded in Brazil. The can has been growing in consumer preference, with different formats and sizes, and conquering more and more space in the houses in Brazil.

In 2022, we recorded a flow of cans for recycling greater than the volume we sell. It is an unprecedented situation, the result of inventory adjustments throughout the production chain, but which once again confirmed that we are able to absorb and recycle the entire volume of cans consumed in the country, which resulted in the unprecedented rate of 100% recycling of cans.

What’s next for your industry now that this landmark has been achieved? What will your focus be on?

We will be focused on maintaining this index and increase the recycled content, modernizing ourselves, improving the quality of life for waste pickers, and encouraging the growth of the circular economy.

What role have waste pickers – or catadores – played in making this landmark achievement possible? How does this differ from the recycling/waste collection processes in EU countries, for example?

Catadores are essential to the entire recycling cycle. We say that they are the specialists in this field, because they are the ones who collect and correctly store the aluminum cans before sending them to the factories. They are fundamental pieces in the whole process.

The recycling procedure is similar all over the world, but in Brazil, one of the factors responsible for this success is the profitability of aluminum since the material has great commercial value. Therefore, it serves as a source of income for thousands of Brazilians, who resell the cans so that the aluminum-producing companies themselves can create new products at lower costs.

Another major factor that contributes to the high rate of aluminum recycling in our country is its life cycle. In 60 or less days, a can be bought, used, collected, recycled and sold again.

Our reverse logistics or recycling system is well structured and the can sector in Brazil takes this issue as a priority. The public and formal commitments that we already assumed, such as buying all the scrap available in the national market, the installed capacity of being able to recycle all the amount that we put up for sale and the fact that we started this Brazilian Recycling Program in 1991, are characteristics that differentiate us from these other locations. Our sector has always invested and continues to work our permanently to improve this recycling model, which makes it possible to maintain such high rates over time.

How would you respond to safety and welfare issues within the waste picker community – and what measures can regulators and industry implement to improve the conditions they work and live in?

We are constantly working in this direction. The profession of waste picker is regulated by our Ministry of Labor, with its own laws and regulations. The sector has strict safety standards and we are constantly advising the entire community of waste pickers regarding safety.

In your view, would it be possible for European countries to replicate the 100% recycling rate? How would you suggest they go about it?

It is certainly possible. For this, it is necessary to encourage the population and invest in the entire segment, from consumers to companies. It is necessary to have actions to encourage recycling, in addition to educating the population regarding waste separation.

Additionally, in developed regions, like European countries, EPR and DRS seem to be essential tools to drive higher recycling rates. There are several factors that led us to such a high level, which can be replicated in other places.

Few countries manage to maintain such high rates, but none with the extension and size of the Brazilian market. We are the 3rd largest consumer of cans on the planet. More than 31 billion units were sold in 2022. But we hope that we will have many other countries to accompany us on this sustainable path that generates benefits for the environment, the economy, and the entire population.



Elmwood designs brand refresh for Dolmio

Pasta sauce maker Dolmio has refreshed its look in partnership with brand consultancy Elmwood

The new visual identity refresh will feature flashes of Italian heritage with the aim of reaching beyond its traditional family-based audience and attract younger consumers.

Elmwood said: “Dolmio’s word mark is also a significant diversion from the brand’s previous identity and of pasta sauces in general, with a more eye-catching and ‘epic’ quality that captures the joy we get and the freedom we feel from creating big-hearted Italian meals full of overflowing yumminess. This is personified by the exclamation mark, an epic celebration that’s big and bold, full of generosity and warmth.”

Elmwood’s global provocation officer, Greg Taylor, said: “Through our partnership with Dolmio, we’ve reinvigorated its brand identity with new, distinctive brand assets that create the perfect balance between ‘Big Heart’ and ‘Great Taste’. Dolmio’s heart comes from the generosity, accessibility and inclusivity of its brand identity, offering people the freedom to use the sauce how they want. But its big heart doesn’t come at the expense of great taste. It’s been a pleasure working with Dolmio to reinvent branding in the pasta sauce market.”



Exploring the key drivers of sustainable design innovation

On Earth Day, April 22nd, Pentawards caught up with members of its Sustainable Design Jury to hear about the latest innovations and collaborations they are keeping an eye on, and insights on how to design sustainably.

As an annual celebration to demonstrate support for environmental protection, Earth Day is a great opportunity for businesses, consumers and designers to share their love for the planet, and what they are doing to support it.

In 2021 we launched our Sustainable Design Jury for our competition, alongside our Sustainable Design category which is sponsored by UPM Raflatac. Today we speak with members for some insights.

Bio-based materials and collaborations

Marta Suslow, Sustainability Expert and ex-Beiersdorf

Despite my previous skepticism towards biopolymers, I am now actively seeking out Shellmer, a product created by Shellworks. Their premier product, Shellmer, seems to be the most environmentally-friendly bio-based packaging plastic that I have read about so far. It meets all the desired criteria for a perfect bio-plastic, as it can be fashioned into thin films that dissolve in hot water and can be used as fertilizer when disposed of.

I strongly believe that sharing knowledge, building communities, and forming partnerships is essential for achieving truly reusable packaging and harmonized metrics. In this regard, I recently learned that the World Economic Forum’s Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP), the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Plastics Initiative and WRAP have collaborated to exchange knowledge and promote global progress in addressing plastic pollution. This collaboration is particularly encouraging since I believe that the 2025 goals are at risk.

However, I also hope that we can establish a global venture capital and design agency in the future. Such an agency could work together with startups and established suppliers to develop global reuse standards and bring these cost-efficiently to the market. This effort could contribute to achieving truly harmonized metrics and advancing progress toward our sustainability goals.


Source: Shellworks

Key steps for sustainable design

Jenny Greenwood, Sustainability & Innovation Manager at Butterfly Cannon

When it comes to sustainable design, the first key element for brands to focus on is to make it simple. Sustainability is a minefield, and different stakeholders will have their own opinion about what the priority is. So breaking things down into easily digestible, bite-size chunks is the key.

It’s the reason we created our Conscious Design process – to bring clarity to this complexity through a simple step-by-step process with our Climatic Table at its heart – a matrix of 28 distinct sustainable elements, which allows us to visualize and discuss what the different priorities and options are with our clients.

Buttefly Canon Climatic table

Butterfly Cannon’s Climatic Table

Another key element is to be open. Make thoughtful and informed decisions from the start and be open about their implications, in order to reach agreement with all stakeholders.

Draw up a roadmap. You cannot do everything overnight. It takes time to make change.

Think systemically – you are part of a bigger picture. Do not see design as a silo, you are in a partnership with the other departments such as marketing and production. What you decide to do will have an impact not only on sales but upon your sustainable footprint.

We recently helped develop a whiskey brand using this thinking. The brand – an artisanal Indian single malt called Godawan – was built around the purpose of saving Rajasthan’s endangered Godawan bird from extinction, with every bottle sold contributing to conservation efforts.

The whisky is created in an Alliance of Water Stewardship-certified and water-positive distillery, using barley that has been sourced locally. The bottling supplier was local, the glass weight was minimised for the category, the paper labels were FSC certified with a high percentage of recycled content and the carton-board outer was produced with Diageo India’s first locally sourced FSC stock.


Godawan Artisanal Indian Single Malt Whisky, Butterfly Cannon

Whilst working on a sustainable design, it’s worth keeping an eye on recent advancements in the sustainability space too. Some of these that we are keeping an eye on include:

Biomaterial development and materials inspired by nature

Such as orange fibre and algiknit (or ‘seaweed wool’) being used as yarns within H&M clothing. Or Stella Mcartney’s use of Mylo a sustainable leather alternative made from mycelium, the root-like system of mushrooms.

AI & digital influence

Many fashion industries are making use of AI eg. 3D knitted garments which use material mapping to ensure no material is wasted in the product manufacturing process. This approach could be utilised in the packaging industry;we’re already seeing this with companies like Kurz and their digital foil.

Rental systems

We are already seeing an increase in returnable or refillable packaging, but this could go even further by taking inspiration from other industries eg. Hurr’s fashion rental, Netflix, Uber’s Lime Bike rental


Being open and honest about all elements of your brand eg. Guerlain’s ‘Bee Respect’ traceability platform.

The importance of sustainable labeling

Robert Taylor, Sustainability Director at UPM Raflatac

A product label is a critical driver of the packaging brand experience, and the sustainability of the label choice is integral to the circularity and climate performance of the package.

Companies have a lot of reasons to make their product packaging increasingly sustainable: consumer demand, regulatory pressure, and the opportunity to drive long-term brand value. But how? Label choice is often not the first question when designing new packaging, but it can have a monumental impact on overall sustainability. A label can have an impact on the whole package greater than the label on its own. Also with the high volume of consumer goods sold daily, the impact of labels builds up.

Companies have a lot of reasons to make their product packaging increasingly sustainable: consumer demand, regulatory pressure, and the opportunity to drive long-term brand value. But how? Label choice is often not the first question when designing new packaging, but it can have a monumental impact on overall sustainability. A label can have an impact on the whole package greater than the label on its own. Also with the high volume of consumer goods sold daily, the impact of labels builds up.


Rebiome’s label by UPM Raflatac

The challenges we are facing for a sustainable future are so huge that no company or industry can solve them alone. Collaboration is hence key to accelerating technology innovations in the packaging industry and is very much supported. To make consumer packages circular, design for recycling is the first step needed, and here we see many initiatives like RecyClass and 4evergreen. Packaging sorting prior to recycling is also an area where digital watermarks in the form of Holy Grail 2.0, or artificial intelligence are piloted and it’s interesting to see how these initiatives develop.

Consumer information and recyclable tubes

Silke Bochat, Head of Design, Europe Africa-Eurasia, Colgate Palmolive – Switzerland

Colgate’s breakthrough toothpaste tube won the 2022 Gold Pentaward as the world’s first recyclable tube recognized as recyclable. Here’s a walk through the process of the initiative.

An estimated 20 billion toothpaste tubes end up in the world’s landfills every year. Aluminum layers in toothpaste tubes have historically been used industry-wide yet make recycling almost impossible because most reprocessors can’t work with mixed materials. We had billions of good reasons to take action and lead the way. As a global market leader in toothpaste we knew that if we succeed, the impact would be meaningful, and others will join. It took us 5 years to develop our Recyclable Tube and to begin driving change in the market. Production was among the challenges to solve. We had to crack how to design a tube that technically fit the #2 HDPE recycling stream but was soft and squeezable.

The breakthrough came when we discovered how we could layer different grades of HDPE on top of each other, which allowed us to create a tube that was more squeezable, as Greg Corra, our Worldwide Director of Global Packaging & Sustainability explained recently in a Bloomberg article. To build momentum for global change, from the start we’ve been sharing our learnings and technology with other tube makers and companies.


Our Recyclable Tube is just the beginning, as it is part of a broader push of our company to reimagine a healthier future for all people, their pets, and our planet. Ann Tracy, our Chief Sustainability Officer, just recently shared in an interview with Reuters that we’ll soon elevate our Recyclable Tube to a new version using less plastic, which is both lighter to ship and even easier to squeeze.

Equally important as innovative technology is to engage consumers to build sustainable habits for life. How can we bring awareness to recycling, how can we educate consumers? This is when Gerard Rizzo and Kristina Karaiskos from our design team joined forces with marketing, particularly Anne-Marie Keller, our NA Marketing Associate Director. They crafted a design and communication strategy in collaboration with our design agency partner, Designbridge NY. Together, they came up with a design that turns the tube into a call to action. For a period of time, our most beloved Colgate toothpaste products were shouting out loud a “Recycle Me!” on our tube – A genius idea to build awareness among consumers and other stakeholders.

Cradle-to-cradle packaging’s future solution

Uwe Melichar – Packaging Expert & Owner, MELICHAR Bros./EPDA Vice President

Our biggest challenge is to create packages composed of monomaterials that can easily be taken apart at the end of a package’s life making it fully recyclable. 80% of the impact on sustainability depends on decisions at the beginning of the design process.

The right choice of material and a clever construction pays you back at the end. Michael Braungart, the cradle-to-cradle founder says, “Everything else is designed for you to throw away when you are finished with it. But where is ‘away‘? Of course, ‘away’ does not really exist. ‘Away‘ has gone away.” Reuse paired with cradle-to-cradle will play a major role in the future. Materials from renewable sources or even agricultural or food waste are on the rise.

The latest example of new packaging material that has the most potential is Traceless. It is a fantastic new material that fully biodegrades and has the same properties as molded plastic. The first application is a sock-packaging hook. Tiny little piece but super exciting. Another spectacular material is Papira. It is made from cellulose (wood) and can substitute styrofoam. There’s an endless list of new developments, at the ‘Rethink Material‘ conference in London many of the new players line up and showcase their work.


Source: Papira by Stora Enso

With people adopting sustainable lifestyles, consumers can learn to make more sustainable choices with the right information. Two inconvenient truths are that consumers state to have a sustainable lifestyle but if you look deeper into their behavior or check their receipts at the cash desk it’s often ‘greenwashing‘.

Furthermore, it is really difficult for consumers to identify true sustainability. Paper is a fantastic material but depending on the use case it may not always be the perfect solution. Customers and manufacturers have to have tools for orientation and measures for their decision. SUSY (sustainable score) for example is an holistic, scientific and independent evaluation method that sums up 84 dimensions to a comprehensible result. It goes far beyond a life cycle assessment.


News & Updates Sustainability

Procter and Gamble rolls out recyclable paper packaging for Always across Europe

Procter and Gamble has announced that paper-based, FSC-certified, recyclable packaging for its Always Cotton Protection Pad Range has now been rolled out across Europe.

The packs are now available in France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark – and were launched in Spain and Portugal last week.

The solution is made from what P&G describes as “sustainably sourced”, FSC-certified kraft paper which can be fully recycled in the paper waste stream. According to a recent ISO Life Cycle Assessment, the new Always Cotton Protection paper packaging reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 60% compared to virgin fossil plastic bags across Europe.

The paper packaging, made as part of an entirely European supply chain, is also reportedly lighter compared to cardboard. The production site, a paper mill in Northern Europe, operates using 100% renewable electricity.

Zooming out, this launch comes as part of P&G’s commitment to using 100% recyclable packaging and incorporating 50% renewable or recycled materials by 2025.

The Always Cotton Protection Pads enclosed within the pack feature a topsheet made with 100% organic cotton certified by Cotton Inc. The absorbent cellulose core boasts liquid-locking gel pearls, and the pads have a moisture-proof backsheet. The pads have also been approved by the Skin Health Alliance.

The packaging innovation initially launched as part of a pilot project with German retailer, ROSSMAN in 2021 and has since gone on to win two packaging awards at the 2021 German Packaging Awards and the 2022 World Star Global Packaging Awards.

Dr. Peter Kramkowski, P&G’s feminine care research & development packaging director, commented: “Always Cotton Protection paper packaging is the brand’s first-ever fully recyclable paper packaging that is lightweight, robust and easily recycled in the European paper waste stream.

“Manufactured within a completely European supply chain, the package delivers responsible sourcing, manufacturing, and disposal, all without compromising on performance or protection.”


News & Updates Sustainability

Dove designs its first refillable deodorant packaging solution

Dove has launched its first refillable and reusable deodorant packaging with the aim of providing an accessible refill solution for consumers and reducing plastic waste.

According to Dove, the ‘super-durable’ stainless steel case is capable of enduring forces of nearly 900lb in weight, while the pack’s exterior incorporates 96% recycled plastic and is 100% recyclable. It is designed to be compact and is described as having a ‘sleek, minimalist aesthetic’.

Consumers are expected to buy one pack and continue to refill it until its end of life, cutting down on the disposal of single-use packaging – a practice that will otherwise result in 12 billion tonnes of plastic in landfill or the environment by 2050, the company says.

“We’re excited to make sustainable personal care products accessible with the launch of Dove Refillable Deodorant,” says Firdaous El Honsali, global vice president of Communications & Sustainability at Unilever. “Dove Refillable Deodorant is only the beginning. We are looking at every facet of our packaging and are working towards our commitment to make all plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.”

The Dove Refillable range is certified by PETA and comes in four fragrances marketed towards male and female consumers, respectively. Each scent contains an aluminium- and alcohol-free formula enriched with Dove ¼ moisturisers, as well as odour-blocking ingredients for a reported 48 hours of protection.

The packs are currently available at all Canadian brick-and-mortar retailers, as well as through e-commerce sites such as AmazonWalmartShoppers Drug Mart, and London Drugs.

Paco Rabanne collaborated with VPI in 2021 to unveil a refillable spray cap that incorporated NFC technology into its 100ml and 150ml bottles.

More refillable solutions came to light last year, from cosmetic brand Izzy’s stainless steel mascara tube to dental care brand Happier Beauty’s toothpaste dispenser with biodegradable refill capsules.


News & Updates Sustainability

RecyClass updates Design for Recycling Guidelines and Recyclability Evaluation Protocols

RecyClass has updated its Design for Recycling Guidelines and Recyclability Evaluation Protocols in line with recent developments in packaging features and recycling technologies.

After conducting a reported fifteen test campaigns and issuing fifty Recyclability Approvals in 2022, new evaluations were carried out regarding the recycling compatibility of components appearing recurrently in rigid and flexible packaging. The behaviour of polypropylene in the rigid HDPE recycling stream, the impact of HPDE on the polypropylene stream, and the compatibility of different types of lids for polystyrene pots, as well as such technologies as laminating adhesives and functional barriers, were all tested.

In response, new guidelines have been developed for white and natural polystyrene, polypropylene, and HDPE containers in collaboration with the relevant value chain players. White packaging in general has been noted as having a high material value, and the updates state that white and natural packaging should be recycled in separate streams, although they leave the previous design recommendations unchanged.

Furthermore, the Recyclability Evaluation Protocols have been adjusted to fall in line with the testing procedures of the US-based Association of Plastic Recyclers with the aim of standardising recyclability evaluations across regions. This is said to include clarifications on testing conditions and definitions and alterations to accommodate for current recycling practices based on feedback from recognised RecyClass testing facilities, members, and recyclers.

RecyClass has made the new Guidelines, revised Protocols, RecyClass Internal Rules and Quality Management and Procedures for Recyclability Approvals available on its website. Moving forward, it aims to contribute towards the standardisation of design for recycling guidelines and testing protocols across Europe in line with targets for plastic packaging laid out in the proposed revisions of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.

The announcement comes after RecyClass released a Design Book last summer in the hopes of establishing a definition of recyclability and creating a roadmap to designing high-quality rigid and flexible packaging for recycling.

UPM Raflatac and Dow also received RecyClass approval for their pressure-sensitive labels and polymer containers and solvent-free and water-borne lamination adhesives, respectively, in the final months of 2022.


News & Updates Sustainability

4evergreen launches recyclability evaluation tool for fibre-based packaging

The 4evergreen alliance has released the beta version of its Fibre-Based Packaging Recyclability Evaluation protocol, with the tool as a whole expected to create an improved and standardised framework for evaluating the recyclability of packaging products in Europe.

75 experts from across the fibre-based packaging value chain collaborated to develop the protocol by analysing data and drawing upon the results of over 50 recycling tests, said to have resulted in almost 100 samples. It helps users to interpret the results of Cepi’s recyclability test method, giving them insight into the quality of the materials their product uses and the efficiency of its recycling process.

These results are subsequently entered into a score calculation tool, which will provide a score between -100 and +100 based on the ease with which the product can be recycled at a standard mill. If a score is negative, it is considered less recyclable, yet it may still be compatible with recycling technologies at a flotation-deinking or specialised mill.

As such, the protocol is being expanded to include evaluations for such mills, and these additions are set to be launched throughout 2023. Users testing the current evaluation protocol are being encouraged to provide feedback to refine the beta release into a first completed version and contribute to future updates.

4evergreen anticipates that the tool can be used throughout the sector to score packaging products made of cellulosic fibres based on their suitability for recycling in standard mills, and by policymakers as a reference point for upcoming legislation of recyclability, collection, and sorting.

“The 4evergreen alliance’s strength comes from our ability to share expertise and join the dots across the whole fibre-based packaging value chain,” said Hans Wortman, 4evergreen chair and internal business consultant at WEPA Group. “This beta release of the Recyclability Evaluation Protocol for standard mills is a major step towards a straightforward, reliable recyclability evaluation method that the entire sector can use.

“The next step is the development of the Recyclability Evaluation Protocol for deinking and specialised mills. These efforts take us closer to our goal for a 90% recycling rate by 2030.”

Peter Hengesbach, project co-lead and recyclability manager at Stora Enso, added: “We’ve worked together intensively across the whole fibre-based packaging sector to share our knowledge and build consensus around this new and unique recyclability evaluation protocol. We are looking forward to hearing what people think of this version so that we can finetune it and expand its use to include all types of recycling mills. Our goal is to make this a widely used and accepted tool across the entire value chain.”

Cepi’s test method, announced earlier this year, is thought to estimate a paper product’s recyclability in an ‘ideal’ scenario by recreating industrial-scale paper recycling methods in laboratory conditions. It hopes to result in a complete transition into recyclable paper packaging by 2025.

Another recyclability assessment tool, Henkel’s Easy D4R software, was a finalist in the Sustainability Awards 2020 for its assessment of the recyclability of various kinds of packaging materials, including paper.

We also spoke to Tiina Pursula – 4evergreen’s deputy chair and SVP Sustainability and Division Packaging Materials at Stora Enso – and Ralf Mack, co-lead of the 4evergreen Expert Group on Circularity by Design and also Director New Business Development Consumer Products at Graphic Packaging International, about 4evergreen’s Circularity by Design guideline. It is said to outline the types of fibre-based packaging, particularly for household and on-the-go applications, that are compatible with recycling technologies currently available in Europe.