How to assess the recyclability of paper and board packaging?
The recyclability of cellulose-based materials and products can be evaluated through the Italian standard UNI 11743:2019.
The recyclability test Aticelca® 501 allows the manufacturer to obtain the label "Recyclable with paper": a tangible contribution to the circular economy that makes companies more competitive on the global market, as it creates and communicates value to both the operators along the supply chain and the consumers.
A cellulose-based material is recyclable when the fibres it contains can be effectively and efficiently recovered to produce new paper with a suitable quality for the market demands.
It is essential to evaluate the composition of the packaging and the one of its components and constituents as well.
The components are the parts of the packaging that can be separated by hands and with simple physical tools (UNI EN 13193:2001).
The constituents are all pure materials and chemicals which a packaging material is made of (UNI EN 13193:2001).
Our expert Paolo Peruzzi highlights the critical issues of the "recycling cycle", retracing the technological evolution of the incoming paper controls and showing the results of the application of the Fiber Tester.
The definition of paper and board materials and products which can be recovered through recycling is provided by the European standard EN 643 “European List of Standard Grades of Paper and Board for Recycling”. Following the implementation of the 2008/98/CE Directive, the standard has been converted in the Italian UNI version in 2014 and defines the criteria for paper and board to be allowed to recycling – end of waste.
The standard identifies 95 different paper and board grades suitable for recycling, which have been divided into 5 groups. In the latest 2014 version tolerances have been laid down too for each paper and board grade to be recycled, in terms of fraction of non-paper materials and total amount of unwanted materials.
The standard for determining the recyclability parameters of cellulose-based paper and board materials and products and of those made predominately from cellulose is set by the UNI 11743:2019, which provides guidance for reproducing in the laboratory what happens in the industrial recycling process. The several steps the test consists of are actually the same as the paper mill process phases: pulping, screening and sheet formation.
The level of recyclability or the non-recyclability of materials is measured on the basis of following parameters:
The following steps can be recognised in the recyclability test when performed according to the UNI 11743:2019 standard:
According to the Aticelca® 501 method there are 5 different levels of materials and products recyclability with paper. Each level is identified by a specific icon which is a registered trade mark “Aticelca® 501”.
The sustainability of packaging materials and products is one of the most important criteria that drive consumer’s choices.
Consumers are increasingly aware of environmental impacts related to our behaviour and our buying decisions: companies have now an opportunity to gain market share by addressing consumer concerns and offering sustainable solutions.
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The Ecol Studio laboratories have been qualified by Aticelca to perform the recyclability test on cellulose-based materials and products and those made predominately from cellulose. Are you interested in more details? Fill in the form to get in touch with our staff.