Recycling lab

Sappi establishes inhouse capacity to test recyclability of its products

Recognising the importance of recyclability for the circular economy, Sappi has established a recyclability testing laboratory within its R&D Department. The lab plays a key role in ensuring that Sappi’s packaging and specialty papers are recyclable, in compliance with the latest EU regulations and market demands.

Paper is already one of the most widely recycled materials in Europe, benefiting from well-established collection, sorting and recycling infrastructure alongside its highly recyclable nature.

To further advance circularity, the 4evergreen Alliance – a global collaboration of manufacturers, brand owners and recyclers, of which Sappi is a member – is working towards an ambitious 2030 target of a 90% recycling rate for fibre-based packaging. One important element of reaching this target is ensuring that products put on the market are recyclable, based on how they were designed and manufactured.   

Building up this recyclability testing laboratory within Sappi brings valuable insights to our technological developments by demonstrating how products perform during the recycling process. 

Sappi’s new recyclability lab is equipped with state-of-the-art test equipment and capacity to evaluate Sappi’s products – during the product innovation process and when launched to the market. It helps to ensure that our product’s recyclability tests are up-to-date and that all operators are trained appropriately.

”Customers have been asking us to support their shift away from plastic and towards fibre-based packaging solutions. The new lab helps us meet those needs at the same time as allowing our own product innovation to keep the circular economy firmly front-of-mind”, said Jean Pierre Haenen, Director R&D.

Meanwhile, Sappi also has its own sustainability targets, including launching new innovative products on the market with defined sustainability criteria, including recyclability.

The testing laboratory also supports the recyclability evaluation of products from Sappi customers and partners, enabling suggestions for ways to improve sustainability and circularity.

The lab’s testing procedure itself follows the recyclability laboratory test method developed by Cepi, the European association representing the paper industry. One of 4evergreen’s deliverables – the evaluation procedure (beta release) – is now being put to use in the lab to establish a consistent interpretation of recyclability test results across Europe.