EUROPE – The 4evergreen alliance has published the beta release of its Fiber-Based Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Protocol (REP).

This tool is said to support the value chain to enhance and harmonize how it evaluates the recyclability of existing and future packaging products.

The alliance stresses that fiber-based packaging designers have, up until now, lacked a common European method to assess product recyclability and maximize circularity.

The REP guides users on how to interpret the results of the Cepi recyclability laboratory test method, which provides parameters covering the efficiency of the recycling process and the quality of the recycled paper produced.

To fill this gap, 4evergreen, “the first” alliance covering the whole fiber-based packaging sector, joined forces to develop the REP.

Seventy-five experts across the value chain have collaborated on the project, analyzing data and incorporating results from more than 50 recycling tests involving close to 100 different samples.

Peter Hengesbach, project co-lead and recyclability manager at Stora Enso says: “We’ve worked together intensively across the whole fiber-based packaging sector to share our knowledge and build consensus around this new and unique recyclability evaluation protocol.”

The published beta release is ready to be used by the packaging sector to quantitatively and qualitatively evaluate individual products made of cellulosic fibers and score them on their suitability for recycling in standard mills.

Users are encouraged to test the evaluation protocol and send their feedback to optimize this beta release into a first completed version and feed into future ones.

4evergreen experts have already started working intensely to expand the protocol and include the recyclability evaluation for flotation-deinking and specialized mills, based on tests currently run by the alliance. The updated versions will be launched in the course of 2023.

Hans Wortman, 4evergreen Chair and Internal Business Consultant at WEPA Group added: “The 4evergreen alliance’s strength comes from our ability to share expertise and join the dots across the whole fiber-based packaging value chain.

“This beta release of the Recyclability Evaluation Protocol for standard mills is a major step towards a straightforward, reliable recyclability evaluation method that the entire sector can use.

“The next step is the development of the Recyclability Evaluation Protocol for deinking and specialized mills. These efforts take us closer to our goal for a 90% recycling rate by 2030.”

The tool will assess the data and return a score from -100 to +100. The higher the score, the more easily recyclable the product is in a standard mill.

A negative score indicates that a product is not suitable for recycling in a standard mill but can potentially be very well recycled in a flotation-deinking or specialized mill.

4evergreen hopes that these documents will be used as a knowledge basis by policymakers on upcoming legislation regarding recyclability, collection and sorting, most notably the proposal on Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation.

For all the latest packaging and printing industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.