Associations develop recyclability guidelines for packaging design

Guidelines focus on paper packaging.

December 5, 2019

The European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers (FEFCO), headquartered in Brussels, says the use of paper in packaging grows annually because of the material’s environmental performance and increasing demand related to e-commerce and delivery services. While the packaging recycling rate is currently 85 percent, to achieve higher recycling targets while expanding the functionality of paper-based packaging, it is important to start from the design phase, considering the intended purpose as well as the end-of-life, the organization says. To aid in this, FEFCO says it has joined with the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI), the International Confederation of Paper and Board Converters (CITPA) and the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) to create recyclability guidelines that provide guidance for designers to make sure functionality goes hand in hand with recyclability.

“These recyclability guidelines and best practices can certainly ensure a higher quality of recycling,” says Angelika Christ, secretary general at FEFCO. “This is vital for the corrugated board industry since we already incorporate on average 89 percent of recycled content in our product. Retailers, customers and end users can be certain that the paper sector effectively recycle the packaging put on the market. We want and we need every fiber back.”

The associations intend for these guidelines to become the go-to document to learn more about the implications of certain converting steps on the recyclability of paper-based packaging. The developers say they are convinced that widespread awareness among the value chain (including retailers and brand owners) can truly improve the recyclability of products. They also say the guidelines will help meet national protocols and requirements and further close the circularity of the industry.

The guidelines can be downloaded at