Matthias Hüttler, Julia Schmitt, Markus Gall,
"Circular Design Guidelines for Plastic Packaging ? A Comparative Analysis"
, in Schnitzer, Hans; Braunegg, Sibylle: Proceedings of the 20th EUROPEAN ROUNDTABLE ON SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION, Graz, Austria, Seite(n) 231, 9-2021, ISBN: 978-3-85125-842-4
Circular Design Guidelines for Plastic Packaging ? A Comparative Analysis
Sprache des Titels:
Proceedings of the 20th EUROPEAN ROUNDTABLE ON SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION
From the second half of the 20th century on, plastics started to gain relevance as a prime packaging material for both food and non-food products. Through packaging innovation, long shelf-life, great freedom of design, and high convenience in handling were achieved. However, the extensive use of plastic packaging paired with their typically short lifetime leads to increasing waste volumes. Often, these plastic wastes are incinerated, end up in landfills or leak into the environment rather than finding their way back into the economy via reuse or recycling. The problem of low circularity of plastics is increasingly being addressed by various circular design standards for plastic packaging from the corporate, non-governmental, and institutional sectors. According to the standards, plastic packaging designed for recycling is the key to overcome current barriers in the recycling value chains and to implement a Circular Economy (CE) of plastics. In contrast to a linear economy (take, make, dispose), a CE can be considered a more sustainable form of production as products shall be cycled in closed technical loops (reuse, repair, recycle) and/or in biological loops (composting, digestion), hence preventing the generation of waste. To fit into one of these loops, packaging must be designed in a way to be compatible with several closed material loops. For this paper, we analysed seven design standards such as the Designing for a Circular Economy, the Circular Packaging Design Guideline - Design Recommendations for Recyclable Packaging, or the Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Standard. We compared these standards by means of a qualitative content analysis. The analysis focuses on the type and number of packaging design elements addressed in each guideline as well as on potential conflicts between the design recommendations and the basic packaging functions defined in the literature. Further categories of evaluation were the elimination of certain formats, materials, and substances and the technical feasibility of the recommendations from a polymer engineering perspective. The individual analyses as well as the overall comparison revealed that most guidelines propose a similar packaging design.