For packaging, to be considered as recyclable, it needs to be actually recycled. When packaging becomes waste, it has to go through several stages to be transformed into quality recycled material. In addition, there must be a sorting and recycling stream in place, on a large scale and with sufficient coverage throughout the country, for the packaging to be considered as recyclable.
There is packaging which is technically recyclable, but which is not actually recycled, either because it is not sorted correctly, or because there is no sorting or recycling stream, or just because it is not economically viable to recycle it.
Likewise, there is packaging that fulfills the theoretical precepts of recyclability, but is not recycled, either because it generates some kind of interference when dealing with actual recycling processes (and not under ideal conditions), or because there is actually no sorting and/or recycling stream in a given country.
Also, recycling streams and/or processes may vary from one country to another, so the actual recyclability of packaging has to be tested according to the characteristics and technologies of each country.
DESIGNED FOR RECYCLING ≠ REALLY RECYCLABLE
TECHNICALLY RECYCLABLE ≠ REALLY RECYCLABLE
RECYCLABLE AT ONE STAGE OF THE PROCESS ≠ REALLY RECYCLABLE
RECYCLABLE IN A LABORATORY ≠ REALLY RECYCLABLE
The ability of a packaging to achieve the conversion of its component materials into quality recycled materials, taking into account its characteristics and the collection, sorting and recycling technologies currently available at industrial scale, and with sufficient geographical coverage throughout country for this purpose.
Quality recycled material
Material obtained from the recycling process of packaging and/or packaging components, capable of replacing virgin raw material in recycling cycles of the same material.
For this purpose, the packaging and its components must meet a series of requirements in order to be suitable to be converted, after use and its contribution to the general recycling system set up on a large scale for this purpose, into a secondary material comparable to the original one. Ultimately, the amount of material available for quality recycling of packaging is the amount of packaging material that is capable of being converted (after recycling processes) into the same packaging material from which it was manufactured, even if it is then used in practice by the manufacturer for another purpose.