Date Published: Thursday 8th July 2021


Charity, and leading plastics recycling organisation, RECOUP, have again reiterated their commitment to improving plastics packaging recycling by educating and informing on the principles of good design when it comes to determining recyclability.  

From the first publication of ‘Recyclability By Design’ in 2006, RECOUP have worked tirelessly to promote the core principles in pack design that give plastics packaging a greater chance of being recycled with the existing UK infrastructure.   Throughout this time RECOUP have highlighted sector issues with case studies with clear examples of good and bad design to allow brand owners, manufacturers, and designers to see how and what influences pack recyclability in the sorting and reprocessing processes.  

RECOUP have also begun work looking at the challenges and opportunities presented by plastics in the medical sector.   With the latest version of ‘Recyclability by Design’, the release of a case study on Over-the-Counter medicines, (which is usually only available to members initially) has been made available to all with an interest in plastic recycling and recyclability, to underpin and focus attention on areas where pack design although complex, is fundamental to moving forward with improved circularity in this sector.  

Paul East, Head of Packaging Recycling and Design, commented “The RECOUP Membership supported the idea of releasing to all with an interest in plastic packaging, to help with RECOUP aim of engaging with our members to support all aspects of plastic recycling.”

Along with updated polymer specific recyclability tables, the 2021 version of RBD includes facts sheets on coloured PET, recyclability of PP, compostables and flexible packaging.

Iain Ferguson, RECOUP Trustee and Environment Manager, Co-op commented “Good packaging design is essential to get the best value out of recycling systems and help to maximise the amount of packaging that we can recycle.  This guidance, while very detailed, is easy to navigate, and will help designers, brands and retailers to develop and select the best plastic packaging design to deliver national recycling targets.”


Copies of both reports can be downloaded via

RECOUP will be discussing this topic at their annual conference on 30th September 2021.   The Conference is a hybrid event and tickets can be secured via

Businesses and organisations wishing to join the member-based charity are advised to contact or  

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