Plastics Recyclability by Design is More than just Food Packaging

Plastics Recycling Charity, RECOUP has been developing a suite of case studies with its most recent offering covering plastics packaging in the Beauty and Personal Care Sectors.

The work highlights how items are packaged, what materials and components are used, how they can be improved, as well as labelling.  The first question asked is, how they would perform through the collection sorting and recycling process of mechanical recycling?

The case study highlights good and bad packaging designs, the reasons, the key principles when considering recyclability and how improvements can be made to ensure maximum recovery whilst minimising the impact on the environment.

Paul East, Packaging Sustainability Manager at RECOUP said “At times of increasingly challenging recycling targets both in the UK and across Europe, there is ever-increasing importance in understanding the range of plastic packaging which can be recycled, rather than go to landfill and incineration.

“Case studies are an effective method of passing on the recyclability message, using examples to illustrate to users and designers of plastic packaging how Design For Recyclability principles can be applied to ensure that their packaging has the best chance of being recycled.”

While the focus of the government is plastic packaging within the food sector, it is evident that bathroom and beauty products are less likely to end up in the recycling bin at home.  Unfortunately, there is little pack guidance for the consumer, also the very nature of use requires that consumers may need to make a recycling bin provision in their bathrooms to ensure effective recycling.

At the same time, there is little awareness and education in the recycling of these products compared to that of food packaging and few Beauty and Personal Care products contain clear recycling instructions on the labelling.

RECOUP, through their Pledge2Recycle Plastics initiative also aim to encourage Local Authorities to instruct citizens on the range of plastic products which can be recycled kerbside including shampoo and conditioner bottles and have a free suite of resources to assist with this at

The case study is available to RECOUP members only, and any organisations wishing to join RECOUP are encouraged to contact for further information.

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