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UK Paper Association Publishes Revised Recycling Guidelines

Stacks of binders of regulations

Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI), a UK-based organization, has published a revised version of its 2019 publication, Design for Recyclability Guidelines. The Guidelines provide design parameters that will help deliver recyclable fiber-based packaging. 

The revised version defines components of paper that can normally be dealt with by standard paper mills such as filling material, starch, coating colorants, binding material, and additives—and those that can be problematic—such as laminates, coatings, inks, varnishes, and adhesives. A standard paper mill refers to a paper mill for packaging that operates on a continuous flow basis and can handle a range of paper for recycling grades as its primary raw material. The Guidelines also recommends that potentially problematic components be limited to a maximum of 10% of pack weight.

Noting that food packaging products such as pizza boxes and sandwich packs can be fully recyclable, the Guidelines recommend that designers and specifiers of food packaging products meet the criteria listed below.

  • Avoid the use of composite, laminated or coated paperboard, 
  • Consider the use of a detachable liner or a separate covering, which should be disposed of separately.
  • Avoid the use of strongly attached windows and use easily detachable, thin, lightweight solutions 
  • Design packs that are clearly marked to encourage removal of liners and food waste before recycling. 
  • Keep in mind that the overall target weight of non-pulpable material in the pack should be in line with the guidance stating that standard paper machine reprocessing technology is designed to cope with a maximum of 1.5% non-paper components (such as plastics and metals).