The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has published guidance for The UK Plastics Pact, a collaborative initiative creating a circular economy for plastics.
Made possible by consultation with the industry, the guidance on the recyclability of rigid plastic packaging lists household plastics that are currently considered recyclable, which include milk bottles, pots, tubs and trays.
The guidelines are intended to give direction to packaging designers and specifiers, establishing a high standard design vision to include recycled content targets.
Clear polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is underlined as a preferred material in the guidance as it is said to have a higher end market. It is also suggested that clear forms of the material are more likely to be reused.
WRAP regards coloured plastics that can be sorted in the recycling processes using near-infrared technology as recyclable.
WRAP UK director Peter Maddox said: “Through The UK Plastics Pact, we are working at pace with our members to respond to this and ensure that all plastic packaging is re-usable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. This new guidance is a significant milestone in our journey towards reaching that target.
“Businesses that specify, design and produce plastic packaging will be able to draw on this resource for best practice guidance in selecting plastic polymers, which are recyclable, while retaining the important protective properties that packaging has.
“While some plastics are classed as recyclable, there is a need to move beyond this, ideally selecting polymers, which have a greater recyclability potential than others. In doing so, it will help us to achieve other Pact targets, notably to achieve an average of 30% recycled content across all pack formats.”
The programme plans to update the guidance further by including films and flexibles.
The On-Pack Labelling Scheme (OPRL) is aiming to adopt these guidelines when it updates its guidance later this year.
In February, WRAP and OPRL announced they would work together to achieve shared packaging recycling targets in the UK.