The Association of Plastic Recyclers
  • APR Design® Guide
    APR Design® Guide

If you are new to the APR Design® Guide and/or in the early phases of designing a new package, we recommend you follow these steps:

  1. Learn about APR’s definition of recyclable.
  2. Understand the four categories of recycling compatibility.
  3. Decide what resin the body of your package will be and navigate to the “Guidance by Resin” section by hovering on the “APR Design® Guide” menu above.
  4. Then dig deep into the details for each specific design feature, e.g. labels, adhesives, inks, etc.
  5. Evaluate the recycling category of each design feature.
    • If all the design features fall into the “Preferred” category, then you’ve designed a great package!
    • If any of the design features fall into the “Detrimental” category, then your package is considered “Recyclable With Detrimental Features” and we encourage you to revise these features.
    • If any of the design features fall into the “Renders Package Non-Recyclable” category, then your package is not recyclable.

 The APR’s Design® Guide for Plastics Recyclability, and APR’s associated Recognition programs, do not convey any consideration by any other organization nor guarantee recognition by any other organization. APR does not share submitted data with any other organizations. Whether a company achieves APR recognition is solely dependent upon the results of an APR review of test data. If APR intellectual property is to be used as documentation or justification toward any other organization’s evaluation or recognition, no claim of APR approval or recognition may be made under such circumstances without the express written permission of APR. When data are used by other organizations outside of APR’s recognition programs, in the absence of a licensing agreement with such organizations, the APR does not give permission for its name to be used to claim, or to imply in any way, that APR has recognized or approved the design feature or innovation that was tested. APR does not recommend, advocate, or influence any other organization’s decision making in this regard.

The results of testing using APR’s Critical Guidance Test Protocols along with a Critical Guidance Technical Review are intended to qualify a company’s innovation for APR’s Critical Guidance Recognition only. The complete testing protocol process requires a review of the test results by a Technical Review Team convened by APR. If test results are not reviewed by an APR Technical Review Team, no APR recognition is possible. APR does not give permission for its name to be used to claim, or to imply in any way, that APR has recognized or approved the design feature or innovation that was tested when APR has not reviewed the test results.

 Although test data generated by a company is the property of that company and may be used for other purposes besides APR Critical Guidance Recognition, the test protocols are the property of APR and APR requires that they be used as written in their entirety. It should also be noted that partial test results that may under-report negative impacts from an innovation or design feature could misrepresent APR’s intention or position and will be called out by APR when these incidents come to APR’s attention.

 The APR provides Screening, Benchmark and Sortation voluntary test protocols at no charge to users as a service to the plastics packaging and recycling industries. APR does not recommend or authorize the use of its name or logo by any organization or company that uses these tests for evaluating a plastic package, innovation, or design feature for any public recognition, consumer-facing instructional label, or similar mark or communication.

 APR firmly believes that companies want to design packaging that is recyclable and sustainable, and we are here to help you achieve this goal. Get one-on-one help through the APR Design® for Plastics Recyclability Training Program.

If you already have some experience with the APR Design® Guide and are seeking guidance on a specific feature, hover on the “APR Design® Guide” menu above to search by resin or package component.

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