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New design guidelines for flexible packaging

With the design guidelines, the CEFLEX initiative aims to promote the circular economy for flexible packaging.

The CEFLEX initiative - a partnership of more than 160 European companies, associations and organisations - recently presented a series of guidelines to help companies along the flexible packaging value chain design recyclable consumer packaging and accelerate a closed-loop economy in this sector. The document aims to guide brands and retailers to make informed design decisions so that all flexible packaging is suitable for sorting and recycling while maintaining its function of product protection. The Designing for a Circular Economy (D4ACE) guidelines are said to have been developed by CEFLEX together with the entire value chain. They aimed to produce recycled materials that can be kept in the economy and used in a wider range of sustainable end markets. This should help to support investment in sorting and recycling infrastructure in order to bring all flexible packaging back into circulation. According to CEFLEX, the design recommendations focus on polyethylene (PE) packaging, as this accounts for over 80 percent of flexible consumer packaging in the European market. They would contain information on the various elements of flexible packaging, including the materials used, barrier layers and coatings, size, shape, printing inks and adhesives. According to Ceflex project coordinator Graham Houlder, companies can start to review their current packaging portfolio against the guidelines and identify approaches for design changes: "Once a portfolio has been evaluated against the guidelines, companies can interact with their suppliers, internal and external customers and have the entire value chain working towards the same goals. The result will be a greater proportion of flexible packaging in the waste stream which, when collected, can be easily sorted and recycled and returned to the economy to replace virgin material".

Further information:


  • (9.7.2020)
  • (10.7.2020)
  • Picture: © CEFLEX