Cepi updates European test method for paper recyclability

Cepi has unveiled the update of its European harmonised recyclability test method, developed in collaboration with actors from the entire paper value chain, including specialised testing laboratories.

Essential to the project was the support of 4evergreen members, which over a 9-month period carried out a battery of tests that informed the improvements of the method and the development of three technical annexes. The method is particularly relevant to the paper-based packaging industry. Many paper-based packaging solutions already enjoy high recycling rates, but are also increasingly fulfilling new functionalities. These need to be considered by brand owners aiming to reach ever higher performance in terms of circularity and sustainability for their products. Design guidelines and evaluation protocols are developed to support value chain actors in these efforts, with the end goal to make all paper packaging recyclable by 2025 and reach a recycling rate of 90% by 2030. The updated Cepi harmonised recyclability test method offers a solid basis for this work and allows paper products across Europe to be tested for their recyclability in identical conditions.

The testing method allows to emulate in laboratory conditions the processes taking place at industrial scale in paper recycling mills Its new annexes were developed through intensive work provided by companies involved in 4evergreen. The workstream established a ‘reality check’ of the method and informed the efforts of testing institutes. The three new technical annexes include a detailed work description of the test method, a lab report template and a ‘decision tree’ for the assessment of visual impurities.

4evergreen will soon release a ‘recyclability evaluation protocol’, which will provide packaging developers with ‘pass through’ criteria based on the updated recyclability testing method. This will further support the industry in producing fibre-based packaging compatible with a low-carbon, climate-neutral society.

“To optimise recycling, product design is just as important as the final collection and processing after usage,” said Jori Ringman, Director General, Cepi. “This is why one needs to be able to involve all value chain actors into the effort of improving recyclability. We hope that this work will support the EU’s transition to a resilient, circular economy.”

“The method developed together by the actors gathered by Cepi and 4evergreen provides a comprehensive toolkit to boost recyclability validation across Europe in a harmonised way,” added Hans Wortman, Chair – 4evergreen Alliance.

Download the Harmonised European laboratory test method for paper recyclability here and the Annexes to the Harmonised European laboratory test method for paper recyclability here.

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