Circular Economy for Flexible Packaging (CEFLEX) represents stakeholders representing all parts of the European flexible plastic packaging value chain. A roadmap to build a circular economy for flexible packaging has been endorsed by CEFLEX stakeholders, together with a set of actions needed by each part of the value chain.

CEFLEX is working towards an established collection, sorting and reprocessing infrastructure and economy for post-consumer flexible packaging across Europe. Key pieces of information in the CEFLEX roadmap include what is being placed onto the market; developing end markets; determining recycling pathways and how sorting should be organised given the requirements for both mechanical recyclers and chemical recyclers.

Three key enablers for this roadmap were identified as having in place:

  1. A Design for a Circular Economy Guideline (D4ACE)
  2. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes, and
  3. Recycling legislation.

Designing for a Circular Economy is a set of comprehensive guidelines to help anyone working in the flexible packaging value chain design packaging solutions which are recyclable. The guidelines have been developed by, and for, the whole plastics value chain. The content is based on broad value chain consensus, using the best available data. The guidelines focus on polyolefin-based flexible packaging (mono-polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and PE/PP mixes) and contain information on designing polyolefin-based flexible packaging to be recyclable. This includes setting limits on specific materials and elements to enable designers to maximise the sortability and recyclability of their flexible packaging. In addition to offering practical advice on packaging design, the guidelines also offer detailed insight into current sorting and mechanical recycling processes for polyolefin-based flexible packaging.

CEFLEX aims to provide forward-looking and future-proof solutions in line with the EU circular economy package. CEFLEX is calling on the whole value chain to use these guidelines as a tool when designing and specifying new flexible packaging structures.


Role for EPR in the Circular economy. A graphic showing two different approaches: the first, labelled 'System designed to meet recycling targets & partially coordinated', and the second labelled 'a fully coordinated circular economy driven by EPR'.