Online tool gives valuable guidance to designers, packaging technologists, customers and suppliers of flexible packaging – helping them collaborate and innovate throughout the design process.

Thousands of organisations in Europe and worldwide have embraced the CEFLEX ‘Designing for a Circular Economy’ (D4ACE) guidelines since they were launched in 2020. Their objective is to ensure all flexible packaging is optimised for collection, sorting and recycling – and producing higher quality recycled materials to be used again in the circular economy.

To help facilitate their use CEFLEX has teamed up with recyclability experts Recyda to deliver This free service has been extensively beta-tested by CEFLEX stakeholders and is now being made available for anyone wanting to make a quick and effective assessment on their design journey.

The ‘Design Check’ tool was developed in response to users of the guidelines who requested a way to check if a packaging design or specification adheres to them, when assessing their packaging portfolios and developing new products with partners, suppliers and customers.

“The tool can be used either to assess an existing package, facilitate the R&D and design process, engage with other parts of the value chain, or prepare for recyclability testing,” explained CEFLEX design lead Liz Morrish. A team of CEFLEX stakeholders developed and tested the tool – including confidentiality and data protection elements – and many stakeholder companies have already used it successfully.

“Assessment covers all parts of the guidelines, including their sortability and recyclability principles. It indicates if a specification or design is compatible, has limited compatibility or is not compatible in terms of the D4ACE categories. Users are also able to undertake assessments for multiple specifications or designs,” she added.

Graham Houlder, CEFLEX project coordinator noted, “The Design Check tool makes our guidelines easier to use, providing a record to track improvements over time and helping the value chain continue to accelerate progress on circular design. It specifically responds to the particular needs of our stakeholders and wider flexible packaging market”.

CEFLEX / Recyda Design Tool

The check against D4ACE guidelines assesses whether a specification or design is Compatible – Limited compatibility – Not compatible for polyethene (PE), Polypropylene (PP) or mixed polyolefin (PO) mechanical recycling processes.

By entering information about the materials and elements used in a flexible packaging structure – such as the polymer type, amount of ink and adhesives, and barrier layers – users can quickly establish whether the design adheres to the CEFLEX guidelines.

The confidential online tool is applicable to:
• Flexible packaging structures and flexible films
• Packaging at R&D stage or on the market

And can be used to check packaging designs or specifications:
• At different points in the design process – conception of ideas, collaboration with partners, suppliers, customers and pre-recyclability testing
• Identify if any areas need to be changed or optimised
• Provide information to customers