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Browsing by Subject "Food Packaging"

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  • Ahl, Ia (2022)
    The Scandinavian countries are behind the EU’s plastics recycling targets for consumer plastic packaging waste. Packaging design plays a major role in achieving recycling targets, as it can influence the sorting carried out by the consumer and the success of the recycling. This master's thesis examines the factors that influence the design for recyclability of labeled food plastic packaging. The sorting conducted by the consumer and the plastics processed at the recycling plant determine the success of the recycling, i.e., a high-quality recyclate with several ends use options. Furthermore, packaging design can enable the consumer to separate the parts of the packaging and allow recyclability. The thesis aims to raise awareness of the importance of packaging design and factors related to recyclability to increase the recycling rate, a legislative target by the EU. In particular, the aim is to understand the role of packaging designers and other decision-makers working with packaging design. The thesis examines the role of the label in plastic packaging and the recycling process and thus leads to new knowledge discovery about the meaning of the label. Eight experienced packaging designers were interviewed for this thesis, and an online survey was conducted for decision-makers participating in the packaging design process. The respondents (N = 23) worked with packaging design either as designers, in printing houses, or in a commercial role. The literature review of the thesis deals with two types of plastic waste treatment in the Scandinavian countries - primary, i.e., recycling of PET bottles, and secondary, i.e., recycling of other, non-deposit plastic packaging. The key difference between these flows is their value due to their differences in quality. Recycled PET bottle material is a valuable raw material for new bottles, while other packaging is made into products unfit for the food products. This does not support the principles of a circular economy and thus does not meet companies' sustainability commitments. The findings show uncertainty within design choices, as it's sometimes unclear who is responsible for ensuring the packaging recyclability. The level of knowledge of those working with packaging design about plastic recycling and the importance of labels also varied significantly. More guidance was needed, although there are several guides on the markets to ensure a better recycling rate, such as the design guide provided by the Finnish Plastics Recycling, which was also evaluated in interviews. However, few participants were aware of these guides. On the other hand, many felt they were necessary and wanted more available information on the importance of packaging design for recyclability. Theoretically, the thesis serves as a comprehensive overview of the factors affecting recyclability that had not previously been brought together. Looking at the role of the label in both food plastic packaging and the recyclability process brings novelty. The thesis also contributes to rectifying the lack of information found in the literature review by guiding designers to familiarize the design guide evaluated. The thesis was commissioned by UPM Raflatac.