Hit enter to search

Reducing the Complexity of the Recycling Process &  Increasing Recycling Rates

One reason why plastic packaging ends up in nature is due to the complexity of the recycling process, which can be complicated by poor packaging design, the inclusion of problematic materials and the presence of excess packaging. 

Advancing on their first priority, Coalition members have finalised the first two of a series of “Golden Design Rules” for the design of plastic packaging which are designed to accelerate progress towards their aim of using less and better plastic. These rules aim to help reduce the complexity of the recycling process for different types of materials, thereby increasing recycling rates. These first two rules focus on increasing the value of PET bottle recycling and removing problematic elements from packaging, such as carbon black, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and EPS (expanded polystyrene), which complicate the recycling process. Consumers will be able to see the impact of these changes as everyday products such as single-use bottles, toiletries, household cleaning supplies, food wrappers and take-away containers will be packaged in materials that can be recycled more easily.

Coalition members from around the world, with a shared revenue of more than 1 trillion euros and representing more than 10 percent of the global plastic packaging market, have committed to adopting these rules wherever possible by 2025. These commitments come after identifying and prioritising opportunities in their packaging portfolios where they can make targeted and valuable impact. They also commit to reporting on their implementation of the rules through a simple process aligned with Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment reporting.

Learn about each Golden Design Rule and the company endorsements below.

Golden Design Rule 1

The first Golden Design Rule is focused on increasing the value of PET recycling. PET is polyethylene terephthalate, one of the most commonly used plastic materials, and this Golden Design Rule applies to all PET bottles in food and non-food applications.

More details about Golden Design Rule 1, including applications and exceptions, are available here.

Golden Design Rule 2

The second Golden Design Rule is focused on removing these problematic elements from packaging because they decrease the recyclability of plastic packaging: undetectable carbon black; PVC or PVDC; EPS or PS; PETG in rigid plastic packaging; and no oxo-degradable. 

More details about Golden Design Rule 2, including applications and exceptions, are available here.

Learn More

Download the Golden Design Rules 1 & 2 One-Pager.