The circular packaging design guideline and holistic sustainability assessment in circular economy

The FH Campus Wien Circular Packaging Design Guideline provide recommendations for circular design for the whole supply chain. Circular design is a necessary prerequisite to achieve the goals of the European Circular Economy Package which requires full recyclability of packaging by 2030. Circular packaging should re-duce resource consumption and environmental impacts of packaging. The assessment of packaging sustainability requires the calculation of direct and indirect environmental impacts and circularity at the same time. A method for holistic sustainability assessment of packaging has been proposed by FH Campus Wien and developed in an ECR-working group (Efficient Consumer Response) with the participation of a number of companies along the whole supply chain (brand owners, retailers, packaging manufacturers and packaging systems).

by Tacker, Manfred; Gürlich, Ulla; and Gürlich, Ulla

The European Union tries to transform its economy towards circularity. This was initiated by adoption of the Circular Economy Package which sets goals such as full re-cyclability or re-usability for all packaging put on the market till 2030 as well as requiring increased recycling quotas of packaging and a 50 % reduction of food waste by 2050. The goals are ambitious and represent a challenge for most EU-countries. In Austria only 25 % of plastic packaging is recycled at the moment, this has be to doubled to 50 % by 2025. Furthermore a significant amount of packaging at the Austrian market can not be considered as recyclable with the current state of the collection and recycling infrastructure.

In order to achieve higher material recycling rates packaging design has to conform to a circular packaging design standard to improve its (future) recyclability. Further-more to close the cycle secondary raw materials have to be available at a quality that enables full substitution for virgin materials. The Circular Packaging Design Guideline created by FH Campus Wien (FH Campus Wien, 2020) aims to provide recommendations for the circular design of packaging systems, and addresses actors along the entire value chain. It is harmonized with international guidelines, but takes care of country-specific collection and recycling infrastructures. At the moment the guideline is applicable to Austria, Germany and the Netherlands. The Guideline is updated twice a year and amended in response to changes in collection, sorting and recycling technologies, as well as material developments.

The FH Campus Wien Circular Packaging Design guideline and the Packaging Cock-pit which enables a holistic assessment of packaging sustainability comprising direct and indirect environmental impacts and circularity are attempts to provide tools for the whole packaging supply chain.

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published: Recy & DepoTech, 11|2020
Keywords: Policy Tax Instruments