European Commission’s Plastic Strategy - Design for Recycling

The Plastics Strategy, which is part of the European Commission’s Circular Economy Package, aims to ensure that all plastic packaging is recyclable by 2030.

It states "A smart, innovative and sustainable plastics industry, where design and production fully respects the needs of reuse, repair, and recycling, brings growth and jobs to Europe and helps cut EU's greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on imported fossil fuels."

Design for Recycling is thus a key area in this document, as it continues to highlight the fact that product design is one of the key factors in improving recycling levels.

Alongside new business models and innovative products, it is essential is to get it right from the start when the product and pack is being designed. Design issues must be addressed systematically and with the right knowledge right from the start.

Material, colour as well as decoration method are equally important and should be chosen with care, as short term aesthetically-driven choices may negatively impact the value of polymers and recycling in the long whole.

Innovation should also be supported either through specific projects that run in parallel or by allowing additional time before the core project kicks off. Time investment and budget with sufficient notice are integral parts of innovation.

It has been calculated that design improvements could halve the cost of recycling plastic packaging waste, which is why it is in every business's interest to explore viable options for recyclable packaing. At the same time, this is the right moment to develop a Packaging Design Strategy.

To access the factsheet click here.