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More and more often we receive questions about sustainability, environmental friendliness and biodegradable packaging. We notice that there is confusion about the meaning of these terms and try to provide more clarity on this page. Below you will find the terms that are related to our first spearhead: Making packaging recyclable.


An item of packaging that can be recycled to serve as a raw material for new applications. A packaging item is recyclable if it consists of 1 type of material. For recycling, three categories can be distinguished.

Mechanically recyclable

Recycling method which involves collected waste being cleaned, ground and processed into new production material.

Chemically recyclable

In chemical recycling, chemical reactions are used to break down the plastic waste streams into the original building blocks that make up the plastics (polymers, monomers, atoms). These building blocks can be used to make new plastics. Chemical recycling allows for more extensive separation, so that more mixed or contaminated plastic waste streams can be recycled.

Organically recyclable

In organic recycling, microorganisms are used to convert the residual stream into compost, biomass, carbon dioxide and water, for example.

Recycling / recycled

Recycling is the recovery of old material in order to make new products from it. Recycling therefore ensures that plastics can be used again as a material for a new application.


The end product of recycling is called recyclate. Recyclate then forms the raw material for a new product.


The application of a recycled material is less than the original application.


Upcycling occurs when unusable materials are made valuable and used in a product that is better than it was before.

Post-consumer recyclate

This is a waste stream originating from packaging that has been used. It is a stream consisting of many different types of plastics. This is released by households or in industrial waste. This waste must first be collected and sorted before it can be processed into recyclate.

Post-industrial recyclate

This is a waste stream of plastic originating from a production process. Examples include waste from a production process, unsuccessful productions or products that have not been sold. This stream has not yet passed through the use phase. This material has not been exposed to degradation or attacked by other substances. This recyclate can often be processed into a high quality recyclate.

Circular economy

In a circular economy, waste no longer exists. This is because products are designed more efficiently and materials are reused as much as possible. In a circular economy, therefore, we are moving away from the line of 'producing, consuming and then throwing away'. We complete the circle. In this way, we save not only our raw materials but also the environment, we reduce our CO2 emissions and we stimulate innovation. National Circular Economy Programme

Publications: Making packaging recyclabele

Publications of studies, fact sheets and policy documents relating to making packaging recyclable can be found here. The studies have been carried out by reputable parties, have an international character and, as far as possible, have been scientifically substantiated.

No rights can be derived from the publications and content.

A European strategy for plastics in a circular economy

Plastic is an important and ubiquitous material in our economy and daily lives. It has multiple functions that help tackle a number of the challenges facing our society. Light and innovative materials in cars or planes save fuel and cut CO2 emissions. High-performance ...

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Improve the recyclability of 5 types of plastic packaging

The main purpose of packaging is protecting the product. The most sustainable packages make sure that the product is available on the desired moment, in good condition. Spoiling the product creates a bigger environmental impact than the use of the packaging ...

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