CEFLEX’s new testing programme to update its Design for a Circular Economy guidelines (D4ACE) can provide the flexible packaging sector the data it needs to design more sustainable packaging, according to Dr Karlheinz Hausmann who develops packaging for Dow Europe.

Q: How will the new D4ACE testing programme help the flexible packaging sector design more sustainable products?

The testing program will provide answers on which level of contamination within the package or on the surface of the package can be tolerated in order to still be sorted and recycled in specific waste streams, like the polyethylene or polypropylene, without negatively affecting its properties.

Right now, there is not really overall scientific data available that would justify specific thresholds. However, the CEFLEX work that is going on in the next year and a half will provide the scientific based answers to those unknowns.

Q: What do you think will be the main difference between the D4ACE guidelines and other sustainability packaging advice currently available?

There are lot of design guidelines on the market, some of them are scientifically supported, others are not. The important thing for me is that this testing programme is backed by the biggest industry initiative for flexible packaging – CEFLEX, which represents over 180 companies and €1.3 trillion of business worldwide – while also providing maybe the first design guidelines that are very detailed and all of them are based on transparent scientific testing.

Q: You’re an advisor to CELFEX’s testing programme, what’s an important factor that you think the D4ACE guidelines needs to consider?

It is very important while we are working on these guidelines that they are recognized by other industry organisations. That should be assured by the transparent generation of the data and the representatives of the different value chain partners, in particular recyclers because eventually it’s recyclers who have to sell the recyclate and not lose money.

The design guidelines also have to meet the requirements of the brand owner because ultimately the redesigned package not only needs to be recyclable, but also needs to protect the goods or the food that it used to package.

Dr Karlheinz Hausmann, Dow Europe

Dr Karlheinz Hausmann, Dow Europe