GRD recyclability

On Saturday 18th March, it is Global Recycling Day! On this occasion, we will analyse the European objectives that are aiming to improve the recycling rates and recyclability of packaging.


How will an upcoming European Regulation help increase the recycling rates?


By 2030, 100 % of packaging that is put on the European market will have to be reusable or recyclable at scale and in an economically viable manner. Design for recycling will be inserted into a European Regulation that will probably be voted this year, and in which recycling performance grades of packaging will be established. The recyclability of packaging will be graded between “A” (equal to or over 95 %) to “E” (under 70 %). From 1st January 2030, packaging that has been graded “E” will be considered as non recyclable. By setting this deadline, the EU seeks to encourage producers to anticipate the improvement of the recyclability of their packaging while giving them enough time to become compliant with their legal obligations.


What is the best way to improve the recyclability of packaging?


Design for recycling of packaging is one of the first steps in the improvement of the recycling rates and the circularity of packaging. Packaging that has been created with recyclability in mind will automatically increase the recycling rates.

By reducing the complexity of packaging, it can be recycled easier. For example, if a few different materials are assembled in a way that they cannot be separated manually, the packaging is more difficult, or even impossible, to recycle.


Can technological progress make it possible to recycle more packaging?


Another way to increase the recycling rates is to develop new technologies that enable the recycling of packaging that was previously not recyclable.


One example is trays that are made of PET. While PET bottles can easily be recycled, it is not yet the case for trays in that material. However, recycling systems are being developed and will become available soon, making recycling of this type of packaging possible.


Are collection systems also being looked into?


From 1st January 2035, recyclable packaging will have to be collected, sorted and recycled at scale and in an efficient way. This requires for a harmonised organisation in all of Europe with identical sorting instructions in all EU countries. To this end, marking packaging with symbols indicating the materials and with sorting instructions need to be established and put into place. The harmonisation of these instructions will allow for an optimisation of recycling thanks to improved sorting habits by citizens.


Your Valorlux team



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