„Golden Design Rules“ for More Sustainable Packaging

In an alliance, a number of major international consumer goods and retail companies have committed themselves to using fewer plastics in the future. To improve the recyclability of plastic packaging, they have now jointly established two „Golden Design Rules“.

Together, the 36 members of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), who want to commit themselves to a more sustainable use of plastics within the framework of the „Plastic Waste Coalition of Action“, have an annual turnover of one trillion euros. According to the CGF, they represent more than ten percent of the global market for plastic packaging. With the development of the first two of a planned series of „Golden Design Rules“, the alliance aims to reduce the use of plastics and improve their recyclability. The aim is to gradually eliminate the use of problematic materials, colors and labels for packaging.

„We must urgently take action to stop plastic waste and move to a circular model. This is the number one priority for us as a Coalition,“ said Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever. No one business can achieve this on its own, which is why we’ve joined forces to drive change across our own industry and to hopefully set an example for other sectors.“

Using Transparent PET

The first of the two rules revolves around the recycling of PET. The preferred option is to use transparent, uncolored PET. Or alternatively PET in transparent blue or transparent green. The second rule is about dispensing with packaging components such as carbon black, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and expanded polystyrene (EPS). These make the recycling process considerably more difficult. The rules are intended to accelerate the development towards a better use of plastics and to help increase recycling rates. They are to be implemented by the alliance companies by 2025 „wherever possible“.

„The CGF Plastic Waste Coalition is taking a bold step in the right direction, creating much-needed packaging design rules to encourage collective action,“ said Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart.

Position Paper for extended producer responsibility

In addition, the members of the alliance have published a new position paper on building a circular economy for packaging. The paper is intended to provide a framework for programs on „extended producer responsibility“ (EPR). Since the industry alone cannot succeed in implementing a closed-loop economy, the coalition supports the development of EPR programs as a way to help facilitate industry and government collaboration on improved waste management. „We know that the public sector has an important role to play,“ said Ramon Laguarta, CEO of PepsiCo. „A spirit of public-private partnership lies at the heart of our new guidance around optimizing extended producer responsibility systems.“

The 36 member companies of the Plastic Waste Coalition are: Amcor, Barilla, Bel Group, Beijing Hualian Group, Carrefour, The Coca-Cola Company, Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Dairy Farm, Essity, Grupo Bimbo, GSK, Henkel, ICA, Jerónimo Martins, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health, Kao Corporation, Land O’Lakes, L’Oréal, Loblaw Companies Limited, Mars Incorporated, Merck Animal Health, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, NTUC Fairprice, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, Rewe Group, Sainsbury’s, SC Johnson, SIG Combibloc Group, Tetra Pak, Unilever PLC, Walgreens Boots Alliance und Walmart