Innovations in Plastic Packaging Design
Innovation is a significant driver of the recovered materials economy. Ideally, package manufacturers and brands innovate recycling-compatible package design, and plastic reclaimers innovate to accept and process more diverse supply streams into a wider range of recycled content products. APR’s Design® Recognition Program celebrates and showcases innovations in packaging design. This Program was established to encourage innovators to conduct Critical Guidance testing and confirm any impact of new plastics designs and components on recycling.
Since its inception, the APR Design® Recognition Program has recognized over 30 different companies for approximately 50 innovations that have collectively improved plastic recycling feedstocks. Every year new innovations are recognized, and most of these are now commercially available and widely used by converters and brands helping to create a circular economy for plastic packaging. Consumer Brand Companies may seek Critical Guidance Recognition to support commercialization of a new technology, while other innovators may use APR Recognition in their sales and marketing programs.
The APR Design® Recognition Program comprises four different levels of review and recognition for plastic packaging. Each level is explained below.
- Applies to specific package design components and complete packages. APR can provide a current list of allowed package design components.
- Consists of an evaluation by the APR Design® Guide Administrator and technical staff, measuring the candidate item against each Design Guide criterion for a Preferred design
- Results in a letter of acknowledgement that the package component is “APR Preferred”
- Suppliers can use the letter to document recycling compatibility to potential customers
- Applies to specific package design components, not complete packages
- Requires testimonials from recyclers that the innovation does not cause problems with productivity, yield, or final product quality
- Encourages lab test data to be submitted
- Results in a letter of acknowledgement that the package component does not pose problems to recyclers, and a listing on the APR Design® Guide web page
- Suppliers can use the letter to document recycling compatibility to potential customers.
Ready to apply for APR Design® Recognition for Responsible Innovation?
- Recognizes significant new technologies or package components that solve long-standing problems in sustainable package design, and encourages wide commercial use of such innovations
- Applies to both specific package design components, and to packages incorporating the component
- Requires APR Critical Guidance test protocol performed by an independent third-party testing laboratory
- Results in a letter of recognition for an innovative solution, licensed use of APR logo and statement for use on promotional materials, and listing on the APR Design® Guide web page
- Innovators can use the letter and promotional materials to document innovative solutions to potential customers
Ready to apply for APR Design® Recognition for Critical Guidance?
- Recognizes complete packages that incorporate significant new technologies or design components that solve long-standing problems in sustainable package design, and encourages wide commercial use of such innovations
- Requires APR Applications Guidance test protocol performed by an independent third-party testing laboratory
- Operates in the same way as Critical Guidance Recognition
Ready to apply for APR Design® Recognition for Applications Guidance?
- Contact an APR-approved Candidate Testing Laboratory to get started.
APR Critical Guidance Recognition Recipients – Recyclable Packaging Components
APR commends the following companies that have completed rigorous testing to ensure their products meet the APR Design® Guide for Plastics Recyclability.
Innovation Category Recognition Date Recognition Level Company Name Innovation Trade Name Additives July 17, 2020 Responsible Innovation Amcor AmPrima™ PE Plus Heat Resistant Recycle-Ready Laminate Additives May 25, 2016 Responsible Innovation Dow Chemical RETAIN™ Barrier materials/Closures & Dispensers April 23, 2021 Critical Guidance Scholle IPN Scholle IPN polyethylene-based bag for bag-in-box packaging made with two layers of polyethylene-based film including EVOH and a polyethylene closure PS Labels/adhesives December 18, 2020 Critical Guidance Avery Dennison Direct thermally printed white PE/PP polyolefin blend substrate and white BOPP substrate pressure sensitive labels with general purpose permanent acrylic adhesive for polyethylene films
Innovation Category Recognition Date Recognition Level Company Name Innovation Trade Name Additives July 29, 2019 Critical Guidance Milliken Millad® NX™ 8000 Barrier March 31, 2021 Critical Guidance Silgan Plastic Food Containers Undecorated PP tray without lidding, but with a sealing layer, and with 8% and less ethylene vinyl alcohol co-extruded barrier layer and maleated polypropylene tie layer and with a compatibilized regrind layer Closures & Dispensers May 10, 2021 Critical Guidance Aptar SimpleCycle™ TPE valves with proper closures for PET, HDPE, and PP bottles Form April 13, 2021 Critical Guidance Pactiv Evergreen Expanded polypropylene hinged lid containers, 0.2 g/cc density Resin February 18, 2015 Responsible Innovation Berry Plastics Versalite™