Improve the recyclability of packaging

How to improve the recyclability of Injection blow moulded PET bottles

Tip: Check the European PET Bottle Platform design guidelines at EPBP.


Do: light weighting. Use R-Pet if possible
Don’t: packaging that underperforms, so that the product is lost. Packaging smaller than 5 cm in diameter, or larger than 5 L in volume.


Do: material with a density of less than 1: PE and PP. This makes separation easy. Using PET is not possible because the cap will be difficult to unscrew.


Do: mono PET(SPI code 1) this can contain recycled content (e.g. Post-consumer recycled content in a middle layer).
Difficult in the recycling of PET: PLA; PVC; PS and PET-G.


Do: water or alkali soluble in 60-80°C, wash off self-adhesives.
Difficult in recycling: hot-melts, self-adhesive labels (non-wash off).


Do: avoid multi-layers.
Don’t: EVOH, PA multilayer or coatings such as SIOx plasma.

Labels, sleeves and tamper evidence

Do: as small as possible; sleeves should have partial bottle coverage to be recognised as PET. Preferred: material with a density of less than 1: PP, PE, OPP.
Not the best solution, but possible:, sleeves that are translucent for Infrared detection in PE; PP; OPP; EPS; foamed (floatable) PET or PET-G. Don’t: use labels and sleeves bigger than 50% (with volumes less than 500ml), or 70% (with volumes more than 500 ml) of the packaging surface.

Inks and direct printing

Do: inks that are non-toxic and that follow EUPIA guidelines. Do: laser marked direct printing.
Avoid: any other direct printing (unless proven not to be an issue for the recycling process)


Preferred: transparent clear. Transparent light blue is compatible with EPBP guidelines.
Difficult in recycling: other colours; opaque, black and metallic bottles.

Secondary package

Do: Fit for purpose, if the bottle is redesigned, check if the box needs an update too.

Frequently asked questions

I am an expert, for example a sorter or recycler, and would like to add a do and a don't. How do I do that?

You can send an email to with your tip and we will contact you.

I want to improve a different kind of packaging then discussed in this tool. How can you help me?

You can send an email to with your idea. We will use your idea to add packaging types to the tool.

Is this information valid for entire Europe?

The KIDV used European standards, like the EPBP standard, if available, as well as their own knowledge of European sorting and recycling to set this tool up. Since every country has it's own collection and recycling system it is not guarenteed that it fit's completely. The KIDV also organised a consultation for the plastic packaging types. For the other materials information, Expra was consulted. You can always check your local sorter and recycler for more information.

Is this the final version?

No, this website will be updated regularly with new types of packaging, new information and the latest insights.

Which sources did you use?

The KIDV used, amogst others, these sources:

Who can I consult for more information on design for recycling?

Besides asking your question to the KIDV via, you can also check with your local producer responsibility system, sorter, recycler or supplier of packaging.  

Why should I improve the recyclability of my 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.
Do you have another question?

Ideas and suggestions