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CGF Plastic Waste Coalition adds more guidelines for plastic packaging design

The coalition adds seven new guidelines to its “Golden Design Rules,” which launched in 2020.

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The Consumer Goods Forum's (CGF) Coalition of Action on Plastic Waste has announced a set of guidelines designed to facilitate recycling plastic used in packaging aimed at transforming the industry's relationship with plastic packaging. The coalition has published the remaining seven "Golden Design Rules,” which continues the launch of the first two of the series in December 2020.

The latest design rules focus on eliminating unnecessary plastic packaging by reducing headspace and plastic overwraps. The guidelines also focus on increasing recycling value in several types of plastic, including polyethylene terephthalate (PET) thermoformed packaging, flexible consumer packaging and rigid high-density polyethylene andpolypropylene. Business-to-business plastic packaging will also be targeted, eliminating all unnecessary packaging that doesn't reach the consumer. The rules also cover the use of clear and accurate on-pack recycling instructions, which will help consumers to ensure that packaging is sorted for the appropriate end-of-life solution, according to the coalition.  

According to a news release from the CGF, which is based in X, the rules are based on commonly adopted design guidelines, retailer design guidelines, advice published by reputable bodies, the work of the various Plastics Pacts and country-specific legislation.

The coalition’s 42 members globally, more than 10 percent of the global plastic packaging market, have committed to adopting these rules wherever possible by 2025. Members have been asked to voluntarily commit to implement these design changes by 2025 and to report annually on progress in a process aligned with the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. Details of what the nine rules entail and which members have adopted them are available on the coalition's website.

“Amcor welcomes the Golden Design Rules as a shared benchmark that will help increase recycling rates and reduce waste in the environment,” says Ron Delia, CEO of Amcor, a member of the CGF. “These rules are fully aligned with Amcor's commitments to design all our products to be recyclable or reusable by 2025. We are proud that so many of our products already comply with these industry-leading standards and we continue to innovate the responsible packaging solutions our customers need to advance their sustainability journeys." 

Guided by the vision of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for a New Plastics Economy, which the CGF endorsed in October 2018, the coalition is committed to driving progress towards realizing a circular economy.

The coalition set out its vision of progress embodied in four main priorities:

  • packaging redesign;
  • developing a framework for optimal Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs;
  • encouraging recycling innovation; and,
  • piloting new programs in advanced and transitional markets to increase recycling rates. 

The first two rules in the series, published in December 2020, focus on increasing the value of PET bottle recycling and removing problematic elements from packaging. These include carbon black, polyvinyl chloride and expanded polystyrene, which complicate the recycling process.

The 42 member companies of the Plastic Waste Coalition are  Aldi South Group, Amcor, Barilla, Bel Group, Beijing Hualian Group, Carrefour, The Coca-Cola Company, Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Dairy Farm, Essity, Ferrero, Grupo AlEn, Grupo Bimbo, GSK, Henkel, ICA, Jerónimo Martins, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health, Kao Corporation, Land O'Lakes, Lenta, L'Oréal, Loblaw Companies Limited, Mars, Incorporated, McCain Foods, Merck Animal Health, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, NTUC Fairprice, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt, Refresco, Rewe Group, Sainsbury's, SC Johnson, SIG Combibloc Group, Tetra Pak, Unilever PLC, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Walmart.