Improve the recyclability of 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 (even up to ten times). This means the packaging must be fit for purpose: protect the product, use the least material possible.

With protection in mind there are still steps to undertake to improve the recyclability of packaging. Designing packaging with circularity in mind minimises the environmental impact and contributes to cost-savings in materials, energy, transport and disposal.

Five tips to get started

Functionality of the packaging goes first, then:

1. Avoid toxins
2. Minimize (reduce and reuse)
3. Use one material when possible
4. Use recycled or renewable content when possible
5. Communicate on the end-of-life options

About the website

The Netherlands Institute for Sustainable packaging (KIDV) wants to help designers, developers and buyers of packaging as well as marketeers to make choices that make their packaging more recyclable. KIDV started by drafting a document which gave tips and tricks to improve the recyclability of five types of plastic packaging. This document was presented for consultation. The input from the consultation was processed and the resulting information is presented here.

Subsequently the KIDV added recycling tips for packaging consisting of glass, metal, cardboard/paper and wood. At the moment only one packagingtype has been written up per material. This autumn the KIDV will add more packagingtypes after consulting the various material organizations. During this consultation existing examples will be further completed.


If you have any suggestions for new packaging types or to complete the packaging recycling tips, your input and suggestions are welcome! Send it by e-mail to: or fill in the form ‘Ideas and suggestions’ at the bottum of the page about a packaging type.


Save resources by making your packaging more recyclable

Five types of packaging

  • Plastic
  • Glass
  • Paper and board
  • Wood
  • Metal