‘Design for Recycling’ workshops encouraged packaging designers to consider life solutions for their products. Guidelines were given how to make their PET packaging more recyclable and how to avoid their packaging unintentionally interfering with existing PET plastic recycling streams.
PETCO, who ran these workshops in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, are focused on growing PET plastic recycling in South Africa. They are well on their way towards recycling 50% of all PET plastic by 2015.
The workshops explored the PET plastic recycling procedure and the difficulties that it faces when products are not designed to comply. Correct guidelines were given for the design of PET plastic packaging to facilitate recycling, such as choosing the material type, material identification, composite materials, colour of plastic, closures, closure liners, cap Sleeves, seals, labels and adhesives.
Design for recycling
These guidelines represent a small but important aid for the journey to sustainable production and consumption in South Africa. PETCO has since released a ‘Design for Recycling’ Fact sheet that is available to view and download here.
The advice contained in the document has been provided to
- help users maintain the value of the post-used material resulting from the mechanical recycling of their packaging and
- to avoid significant interference with established recycling processes and material streams.
Guidance on designing for recyclability is one component only of a larger sustainability challenge. There are wider issues of relevance both in considering the overall environmental impact of differentiated packaging systems, and in developing efficient operational solutions to recycling and recovery of used plastic packaging.
Continuing work will be required by many parties including designers, manufacturers, waste and resource management professionals and governments to address these developing issues. Since the packaging market is characterised by innovation, there are specific circumstances where the relationship of packaging production and recycling continues to develop.