Increasing the Recyclability and Circularity of Plastic Packaging: Learnings from Best Practices

As multi-layer packaging is designed by binding together different materials, separating the layers for recycling is particularly challenging. Innovations in design and recycling as well as new approaches on a policy and consumer behaviour level could be a way to achieve higher recycling rates and better recycling quality. The report “Guidelines on Increasing the Recyclability and Circularity of Plastic Packaging” shares good practices on how to increase the quality and rate of multi-layer packaging recycling.

Currently, the lack of specialised technologies for sorting and recycling multi-layer packaging and concerns over the quality of recycled material contribute to low rates of reuse and recycling of multi-layer packaging. Consumers also find recycled packaging less attractive due to aesthetics, convenience, and price concerns. Packaging from recycled materials is more expensive compared to conventional packaging solutions since recycled materials are often “newly introduced” or do not have same scale of production yet.*

The path forward requires innovation, adaptation, and a concerted effort to tackle the challenges of multi-layer plastic packaging. The European Union (EU) plans for all plastic packaging to be reusable or recyclable by 2030, with a 55% plastic packaging waste recycling target**. Countries in the EU will need to invest in new technologies and systems to close existing gaps.

Stakeholders can learn from existing innovations in technology, social innovation, design techniques, business models, and policies aimed at enhancing the recycling rate and quality of multi-layer packaging waste. As part of the Merlin project, the CSCP works closely with stakeholders, engaging and supporting them in transitioning towards a circular packaging waste value chain via.

The report “Guidelines on Increasing the Recyclability and Circularity of Plastic Packaging: Learnings from Collected Good Practices” is published by the CSCP to showcase effective strategies for improving both the recyclability and recycling rate of multi-layer packaging. It offers valuable insights for various stakeholders, including the industry, political actors, waste management services, and others.

The report features exemplary practices in advancing circular economy approaches, including circular design, circular business models, corporate social responsibility (CSR), consumer engagement, and improved waste management and policy innovation.

It also catalogues good practices along the multi-layer packaging waste value chain and describes learnings and insights for stakeholders. You can download the full report in our library.

For further questions, please contact Ahmad ur Rehman Hafiz.

*Swiftpack 2022