Improve the recyclability of packaging

The main purpose of packaging is to protect the product. The most sustainable packaging makes sure that the product is available in good condition on the desired moment. Spoiling the product creates a bigger environmental impact than the packaging itself (even up to ten times). This means packaging must be ‘fit for purpose’: protect the product and use the least material possible.

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

The Netherlands Institute for Sustainable Packaging (KIDV) helps designers, developers and buyers of packaging as well as marketers to make choices that make their packaging more recyclable. As a start, the KIDV drafted this document for consultation, concerning tips and tricks to improve the recyclability of 5 types of packaging.

Seven tips to get started

Functionality of the packaging goes first, then:

1. Always put the functionality of packaging first;
2. Avoid the use of harmful substances in packaging materials;
3. Use materials sparingly;
4. Create a clean material stream that can be recycled easily;
5. If possible, use recycled or renewable raw materials;
6. Keep logistical efficiency in mind when developing packaging;
7. Include information on packaging concerning the proper disposal behaviour for consumers.

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.

In light of new developments – such as the KIDV Recycle Check, this document has been updated in 2019. The Recycle Check is a tool that helps to find out if your packaging is good recyclable. More information about the Recycle Check for rigid plastic packaging can be found here.


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 bottom 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