• recyclable packaging

It can be confusing working out what product packaging is recyclable. Most of the times with plastic food and beverage packaging there is a code on them but what about items that don’t have codes? And what about everything else that doesn’t have any type of recyclable labelling on it? Even if you are pretty clued up on recycling this can still get tricky.

Planet Ark recognised this and has joined forces with a packaging consultancy GreenChip to introduce a new online assessment tool and recyclability label system called the ‘Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal’ (PREP).

How does the PREP system work?

Manufacturers (or brand owners) that adopt the PREP system can utilise the portal from the initial development of their packaging to assess the recyclability of it. The user simply inputs their specifications into the web-based PREP software and the system calculates both the technical recyclability of the product and whether collection services for the material type exist. The user can then adapt their packaging if necessary, or if the packaging is viable will be eligible to use the PREP label if they choose to (which will be appearing on product packaging by late July).

PREP can work for a wide range of industries including (but not limited to): food, beverage, household products, beauty/cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. One of the main functions of the PREP is to ensure current self declared claims (of packaging recyclability) are accurate and so packaging technologists are better equipped throughout the design process.

Brand names embracing PREP

Some early adopters of the PREP assessment tool include Nestle, Officeworks, Blackmores, Aesop and Unilever. The PREP label will appear on consumer products from July 2015 but Planet Ark and GreenChip are still keeping these brand owners secret, so keep your eyes out and you might be lucky to see the first to hit the shelves.

The PREP label will be visually consistent with existing recycling labels that have been launched in the UK, USA and South Africa and as time goes on may soon become recognisable among household names.

This seems like a fantastic initiative and we hope that over time more companies will take up PREP and the labelling system will become common place and recognisable on the supermarket shelves and among households. This should lead to a greater rate of recovery of recyclable materials and also reduce the contamination in the recyclate streams.

To find out more about PREP and how this could benefit your business please visit prep.org.au or send an email to info@prep.org.au

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