RECOUP Publications Aim to Improve Industry Knowledge of Packaging Sorting and Recycling Processes

RECOUP Publications Aim to Improve Industry Knowledge of Packaging Sorting and Recycling Processes

Plastics resource efficiency and recycling charity, RECOUP, have released their latest set of case studies ‘MRF Processes – Understanding Material Sorting’ and ‘Packaging Design Principles – Small Changes for a Big Impact.’ 

‘MRF Processes – Understanding Material Sorting’ intends to educate readers about how packaging placed in kerbside collections gets detected and sorted by material recovery facilities (MRF) from the entrance hall right through to the final baled materials. The case study looks at common issues such as the recycling of small items, which can get lost early in the process and end up with the glass recycling fraction, as well as a detailed breakdown of how near-infrared spectroscopy (NIR) is used to determine which polymers packaging is made from to capture the packs for recycling.

‘Packaging Design Principles – Small Changes for a Big Impact’ is aimed at individuals new to the packaging industry and covers many design principles to improve the recyclability of plastics packaging at the design stage.  It covers the important packaging components for recyclability, including additives and barriers, adhesives, labels, and colourants, to help packaging designers make informed decisions.

Richard Cham, Senior Packaging and Recyclability Projects Officer at RECOUP, said:
“We often get asked about the processes that happen at the sorting stage, the MRF case study will assist stakeholders to understand the reality of how packaging is sorted and the implications design can have on detecting different polymers.”

Paul East, Head of Packaging Recycling and Design at RECOUP, said:
“The sorting process at the MRF is a crucial link in the recycling chain. The Case Study illustrates how following design guidelines such as RECOUP’s Recyclability by Design, increases the likelihood  a pack will get sorted correctly.”

The case studies are accessible on the RECOUP website now for members and will become publicly available in 3 months. RECOUP also offers their members access to their laboratory testing facilities, including materials recovery facility sorting trials, free of charge to help packaging designers and brands to make informed decisions on pack design for recyclability. If you would like to find out more about RECOUP membership, then contact

For those seeking more in-depth information about the plastics resource and recycling value chain, registrations for RECOUP’s, not-to-be- missed annual conference, to be held on Thursday 26 September, are now open.

The year’s plastics resource and recycling value chain event sees hundreds of delegates in attendance and draws together stakeholders, NGOs, Local and National Government bodies and organisations from across the plastics and wider sustainability value chain to network and share best practices.

To book your place at The RECOUP Conference 2024, please visit the RECOUP website.

Read more news from RECOUP here.

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