The Circular Economy for Flexible Packaging (CEFLEX) initiative is a collaboration of over 170 European companies, associations and organisations representing the entire value chain of flexible packaging – from raw material producers, packaging converters, brands, retailers, recyclers, suppliers and beyond. Together, we work to make all flexible packaging in Europe circular by 2025.

The CEFLEX ‘Mission Circular’ vision commits to collection of all flexible packaging with over 80% of the materials entering a recycling process to be returned to the economy and used by sustainable end market to substitute virgin materials.

To deliver the circular economy, it is imperative the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive revision recognise the CEFLEX Designing for a Circular Economy guideline applicability for household consumer flexible packaging applications

Key Messages

  • Recyclable, light weight, resource efficient flexible packaging is a key enabler of achieving the EU Green Deal objectives of climate neutrality by 2050 and recyclable packaging in a viable and cost-efficient manner by 2030
  • Defining recyclability is packaging format specific and needs to be based on agreed design for recycling guidelines. Setting a blanket 95% target material recyclability threshold for all packaging would seriously impact flexible packaging’s ability to deliver the required functionality.
  • We call for CEFLEX Designing for a Circular Economy (D4ACE) Guidelines to be legally recognised as the guidelines by which industry and legislation assess ‘recyclability’ for consumer flexible packaging1 below A4 size.
  • The CEFLEX (D4ACE) Guidelines have been developed via multi-stakeholder inputs and are endorsed by a significant percentage of actors across the full consumer flexible packaging value chain including plastic producers, film producers and converters, brand owners and retailers, the collectors, sorters and recyclers and many others.
  • For plastic-based consumer flexible packaging1, CEFLEX D4ACE Guidelines require at least 90% of the functional unit to be the targeted mono-material for it to be deemed recyclable: i.e., fully compatible with mechanical recycling.
  • We call for the PPWD legislation to promote, incentivise and facilitate the investments in collection, sorting and recycling (mechanical, physical and chemical) infrastructure that will ensure the recycling of flexible packaging towards the attainment of EU’s plastics packaging recycling targets and the circular economy.
  • We ask for Member States to grant sufficient time for innovative packaging and the requisite scale up of new sorting and recycling infrastructure to be 5 rather than 2 years.

Consult the complete input document

Further reading: CEFLEX Position Papers on key issues

To support CEFLEX’s vision and help the entire value chain move forward as one, a facilitated alignment process tackles key issues. Information exchange, analysis, and interviews support participative workshops which create considered positions on each topic so that these can guide transformation to a circular economy.

1 This specifically refers to plastic-based small consumer flexible packaging which are currently covered by the CEFLEX D4ACE guidelines. We recognise that the 90% full recyclable threshold in D4ACE applies only to PE and PP containing flexible packaging and not to aluminium foil and paper based flexible packaging.