The next step for fully circular plastic packaging

Traceability and transparent recycled content certification could help Europe achieve a fully circular economy, writes RecyClass Chairman Paolo Glerean.
Source: Plastic Recyclers Europe

By Paolo Glerean

Paolo Glerean is Chairman of RecyClass

23 Feb 2021

As public concern over climate change has entered the mainstream in recent years, consumers are increasingly opting for products with lower environmental impact.Meanwhile, companies are striving to make the transition from a linear to a circular economy,which requires reliable certification of their environmental impact to prove the sustainability of their businesses.

The plastic waste crisis has shown that these claims, which are based on guiding principles like clarity and straightforwardness, are of particular importance for plastic products. Transparency plays a key role here in recyclability and recycled content reporting.

The upcoming regulatory requirements at EU level call for a structured, consistent, and transparent approach to specifically recycled content claims on the market, ensuring that these claims are guided by verifiable and tangible principles. This will eliminate greenwashing based on void declarations used purely as marketing tools without reducing impact on the environment.

RecyClass Recycled Plastics Traceability Certification brings confidence in the use of recycled material not only to the value chain but also to consumers”

Here is where RecyClass comes into play. It is a comprehensive, cross-industry initiative that works to advance plastic packaging recyclability and to establish a harmonised approach towards recycled content calculation in Europe. RecyClass has ready-made solutions for verification of such claims. It proposes certifications for recyclability and more recently it has launched a certification which recognises transparent and equitable use of recycled plastics in finished or semi-finished products.

While working on the practical aspects and methodology for assessing the recycled content of packaging placed on the EU market, decision makers should turn to already existing schemes like RecyClass. Based on the know-how of the whole value chain and with a focus on a well-defined approach towards the calculation of the recycled content and an in-built independent audit system, RecyClass has all the tools to serve as a valid assessment model.

RecyClass Recycled Plastics Traceability Certification guarantees the verifiability of waste source and traceability of material along the whole value chain, up to the consumers. In practice, it attests the origins, sourcing, recycling processes and incorporation of the material in the final product. Within such a system, the ownership and the certification are passed from one actor of the value chain to another. This practice is ensured via the Chain of Custody as well as the Recycled Plastics standards, on which the certification is based.

Chain of Custody, among others, guarantees the traceability and origins of waste. This in turn implies that the certification must be paired with a scheme that verifies it in a transparent manner. EuCertPlast is an example of such a scheme, where not only the source of waste but also the recycling process in its entirety is assessed.

“It is a comprehensive, cross-industry initiative that works to advance plastic packaging recyclability and to establish a harmonised approach towards recycled content calculation in Europe”

One of the advantages of the RecyClass Recycled Plastics Traceability Certification is that, via a percentage-based recycled content calculation, it allows for an adequate determination of any share of the post and pre-consumer streams. Another benefit is that it is designed for any company which plays a part in the value chain and holds custody of the recycled plastics, including but not limited to compounders, converters, blow moulders and filler brand owners.

The creation of the RecyClass Recycled Plastics Traceability Certification was possible thanks to the expertise and collaboration of the RecyClass members who cover a broad spectrum of companies including brand owners, converters, waste management companies and recyclers.

RecyClass Recycled Plastics Traceability Certification brings confidence in the use of recycled material not only to the value chain but also to consumers. Via its labelling system, the certification givesend-users clear information about the environmental impact of the products they buy, allowing them to make informed decisions.

A harmonised, factual approach to recycled content calculation is indispensable for complying with EU legislation and warrants the creation of a level playing field for recycled plastics. RecyClass certification stands for this objective.

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Energy & Climate
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