Challenge Question 7.2 : Does the packaging comply with one or more of the Golden Design Rules?
An effective way to improve the recyclability, and actual recycling, of packaging is to commit to one or more of the Golden Design Rules (GDRs). The Consumer Goods Forum Coalition of Action on Plastic Waste members, representing more than 10% of the global plastic packaging market, committed to adopting the GDRs wherever possible by 2025, and they were endorsed by the Canada Plastics Pact in 2021.
The GDRs focus on the use of four plastic resins for plastic packaging: PET, HDPE, LDPE and PP. A key reason some plastics are not considered recyclable is because they are not recycled at scale. Films in particular have poor recycling rates due to the tremendous variation in resin and material combinations, making it almost impossible to capture a single recyclable stream. Moving to simplified combinations of these resins will help create economies of scale, and increase opportunities for recycling.
To learn more about the Golden Design Rules, visit the Consumer Goods Forum, or consider compliance verification tools such as PIP360, or training programs such as those offered by PAC Global.
Supporting Resources (NOTE: to include with both above challenge questions)
Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) Design Guide for Plastics Recyclability: Widely recognized in North America and globally this guide helps assess package design against industry-accepted criteria to ensure that it is truly recycling compatible.
APR ‘Critical Guidance Protocol’, https://plasticsrecycling.org/images/Design-Guidance-Tests/APR-PE-film-critical-guidance-FPE-CG-01.pdf
Food and Retail Industry Guidance:
CPMA Packaging Guidance Documents: The CPMA has produced several industry guidance documents under the direction of the CPMA’s Plastics Packaging Working Group, each updated over time to reflect key market developments. Key documents include:
CPP – ‘Pathways to Mono-Material Guide’
Circular Plastics Taskforce (Canada) – A cross value chain collaboration that includes digital water-marking, a design technology which, among other benefits, improves sorting, and recycling yields. The Circular Plastics Taskforce’s activities link to the Alliance to End Plastic Waste’s Holy Grail 2.0 digital watermarking project and is a Canada Plastics Pact (CPP) Implementation Partner.