UK's Recoup revises Recyclability by Design guideline for second time in 2013 to have polymer-specific recyclability tables, including separate tables for PET bottles, PET trays, PP, HDPE, PS and PVC

PETERBOROUGH, England , October 14, 2013 (press release) – Recoup’s guideline document for Packaging Technologists and Pack Developers involved in plastic packaging has been revised for the second time this year.

‘Recyclability By Design’ is one of RECOUP’s most important documents, and well regarded throughout Europe. The existing version, released in June this year, was a refresh of the look and update of some of the content, including some additional chapters and more relevant photographs.

However the technical details, the recyclability matrices for each polymer, were not re-written. Recoup would not publish any review of these without major research, input and approval from both the recycling industry and the packaging industry.

Recoup Packaging Technologist, Paul East, declared; “The polymer recyclability tables are the most important and relevant part of the document, which is why we have spent some time talking to the most relevant people to ensure the information is current, informative and accurate.”

In acknowledging the importance of the document and the relevance in helping to resolve some of the issues faced by the recycling industry, one of the contributors to the tables and the technical aspects of the document, Bernard Chase of Regain Polymers, commented; “The whole supply chain must recognise the need to work in harmony if we are to create a successful, economically speaking, recycling loop.”

The recyclability tables are polymer specific, with separate tables for PET Bottles, PET Trays, PP, HDPE, PS and PVC. The PET guidelines have previously been one table, but Recoup felt this would be more relevant split into separate tables, one for Bottles and one for Trays.

Recoup have also changed the headings on the columns, from a ‘yes’ / ‘may be’ / ‘no’ to more descriptive headings. The tables show a more positive view of any packaging which avoids the use of non-recyclable items. The hope is that this will encourage designers with an interest in recyclability to look for ways to improve their packs.

Recoup acknowledge contributors to the polymer tables

For the formation of this document, a program of engagement with experts, supporters and hey industry associations was undertaken to obtain broad acceptance for the document, and more specifically for the updated recyclability tables.

Contacts included Recoup members and other industry contacts from both the recycling industry and the packaging industry.

The full 68 page guide is available for download from the Recoup website:

For more information please contact Recoup Packaging Technologist, Paul East, at or on 01733 390021


Recoup deliver research, project management and policy review activities for its members and clients, working to maximise plastics recycling by stimulating the development of sustainable plastics waste management practices. This includes the improvement of plastics collection and sorting activities across the UK, undertaking bespoke research to identify good practices and remove barriers to the adoption of efficient recycling systems.

• Recoup stands for RECycling Of Used Plastics
• Recoup was founded in 1990
• Recoup is a UK leading authority on plastics packaging recycling, providing expertise and guidance to a wide range of clients across the plastics supply, use and disposal chain
• Recoup is built on a network of members and associated organisations across all sectors involved in plastics manufacture, use, disposal and recycling
• The Peterborough-based company has charity status and its patron is Dr David Bellamy OBE
• Recoup works with many other leading international plastics recycling organisations to ensure that it stimulates the implementation of latest best practices and developments world-wide.
• Much of the good work that Recoup undertakes is achieved by the support of their valued members.


The document covers all forms of rigid plastic packaging and with several thousand downloads, is recognised by industry and enjoys a positive reputation worldwide.

It is an essential guide for all those involved in plastic packaging development, design, marketing and procurement. The guide was first launched in 2006, revised in 2009, and re-written in June 2013.

The Recyclability By Design document was translated by Eco Embes for use in Spanish speaking countries, and the Packaging Council in South Africa is using the existing document as a template for their own national version, with Recoup being recognised as a project partner.

Recoup works with its extensive network of members and contacts across the plastics packaging supply chain to understand and identify the current practicalities of recycling plastic packaging. ‘Recyclability By Design’ represents an important aid for the journey to sustainable production and consumption.

The aim of this guide is to encourage designers to consider recycling possibilities, provide guidelines, for those wishing to make their packaging (more) recyclable and provide everyone with information to prevent their packaging inadvertently interfering with existing plastic recycling schemes.

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