Plastics charity RECOUP has opened up its own laboratory to help it give companies RecyClass certification of plastics.
It has also introduced a Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) service to enable organisations to assess the environmental impact of products, goods and services from raw material extraction to end-of-life.
Currently, RECOUP offers to test member’s plastic packaging samples for portability at a materials recovery facility for free. The addition of an in-house lab will enable it to further enhance testing of plastic samples and identification.
In particular, the RECOUP lab uses near-infrared and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) to identify the constituent components of a pack and help determine recyclability.
RECOUP packaging projects officer Richard Cham said: “I am excited about our future plans for the laboratory, in particular the introduction of FTIR microscopy which will enable the investigation of smaller, hard to see imperfections and contaminants, and give RECOUP the ability to analyse and identify microplastics from separated samples.”
This will also help RECOUP to enhance its RecyClass certification service (it is the UK provider of the scheme) which assesses and evaluates plastics for recyclability.
On the LCA, RECOUP said that its service can help to inform evidence-based decisions on development and design of products, while supporting the supply chain and procurement decisions. It will also enable the tracking of packaging changes over time, improve overall environmental outcomes in line with strategy and policy, and challenge misinformation and greenwash.
RECOUP head of sustainability & circularity Katherine Fleet said: “RECOUP has been working on building LCA capability to assist members and the wider industry to better inform decision making related to product design in order that decisions are based on environmentally sound evidence rather than emotion.”