Recycled content guidelines in plastic packaging launched

THE British Plastics Federation (BPF) has teamed up with the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) and the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) to announce the launch of new guidelines, Recycled Content Used In Plastic Packaging Applications.

The document seeks to answer questions about measuring recycled content and highlights regulatory and technical considerations. The BPF said the guidance is aimed at companies wishing to include recycled content in food, drink, cosmetics and pharmaceutical packaging, as well as helping policymakers better understand the sector-specific issues.

Guidance is presented in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), answering matters like “what is a functional barrier?” or “what is a challenge test?”. It also highlights factors to consider when incorporating recycled content into plastic packaging, such as the potential to generate extra waste or to render products unrecyclable by conventional means.

Barry Turner, the BPF’s plastics and flexible packaging group director said, “The inclusion of recycled materials in packaging can have environmental benefits of resource efficiency and carbon savings. Therefore, we are extremely happy to be working alongside the FDF and CTPA to help ensure recycled content is maximized where it delivers the most benefit to the environment, and to help bring us closer to the circular economy.”

Helen Munday, FDF’s chief scientific officer commented, “FDF members are increasingly looking at ways to incorporate recycled content into their packaging in keeping with efforts to build a truly circular economy for food and drink packaging in the UK. These guidelines will help both businesses and policy makers better understand the  regulatory and technical considerations that apply including those factors that currently limit recycled content when it comes to plastics for food contact applications.”

Christine Lawson, CTPA’s sustainability & technical affairs manager stated, “The cosmetics and personal care industry is fast moving and incredibly innovative. CTPA recognises that packaging plays a vital part in consumer choice as well as how a product is used and recycled, and welcomes this important collaborative guidance which will increase the understanding around the inclusion of recycled plastic content. It will inform and help companies build-in decisions from the early stages of product development to create the most sustainable ways of presenting products with minimum environmental impact and enhancing circularity of resources.”

The document is available to download at