Three years of “Made for Recycling”: the standard for recyclable packaging

An important step towards a closed-loop economy: three years ago, in June 2018, the environmental services provider Interseroh officially launched its “Made for Recycling” assessment procedure – and thereby set a ground-breaking standard for the recycling capability of packaging.

“The packaging design of the future is a closed-loop design which is focused on conserving raw materials and protecting the climate right from the start,” explains Markus Müller-Drexel, Managing Director of INTERSEROH Dienstleistungs GmbH. “The success of ‘Made for Recycling’ shows we are heading in the right direction: we are accompanying our customers on their journey to greater sustainability and developing solutions with them for an effective closed-loop economy.”

From professional personal advice, to the examination and assessment of recycling capability, through to the “Made for Recycling” seal of quality: in the past three years, the recycling specialists at Interseroh have supported brand and packaging manufacturers throughout the packaging optimisation process and carried out some 1,600 analyses. Their “trademark” is the uncompromising quality of the analyses: at Interseroh’s centre of competence for plastics recycling in Maribor, each piece of sample packaging is subjected to a detailed assessment and checked for its materials and machine sorting capability, for example. The laboratory was awarded international accreditation (ISO/IEC 17025:2017) in March 2020, making it the only recognised research facility in the EU to specialise on the development and analysis of recycled plastics. The “Made for Recycling” standard is based on a scientific method of assessment which was developed together with the bifa environmental institute, and has been confirmed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV.

If the assessment is successful, the packaging is able to carry the “Made for Recycling” seal if it scores at least 18 out of 20 points – an important signal for environmentally-aware consumers. The certificate is valid for two years, subsequent to which recertification is required. The first Interseroh customers have already successfully recertified – thereby expressing their interest in a long-term cooperation.

Close cooperation in a spirit of partnership has now resulted in a unique network for packaging optimisation, in which the packaging industry, distribution companies and recycling experts exchange know-how and innovative ideas. “We want to build on this platform further and make it more accessible to international companies, for instance,” explains Markus Müller-Drexel. “By integrating it into our Interseroh+ offering, our customers will also be able to benefit from additional sustainable competitive advantages in the future.” The new dual system, which is to commence operations at the beginning of 2022, stands for the complete recyclable loop in the area of packaging. In addition to licensing and improving recycling capability as part of the “Made for Recycling” initiative, it also provides access to recycling raw materials. This gives companies the necessary planning security regarding the use of recyclates.

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Written by Kevin Gambrill

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