← Back to Info Hub

Assess the Recyclability of Your Packaging with the New Circular Packaging Assessment Tool

The newly available digital Circular Packaging Assessment Tool (CPA Tool) allows brands and retailers to evaluate the recyclability of their packaging portfolio, especially as state EPR policies begin to be implemented across the U.S. 

The new digital version of the CPA Tool: 

  • features dynamic assessments of over 120 packaging formats across all materials, including plastic, fiber & cartons, metal, and glass, 
  • leverages digitized design guides by leading material associations, as well as the cutting-edge access data from The Recycling Partnership’s National Recycling Database, and 
  • spans five packaging recyclability criteria: design for recyclability, community access, MRF sortation, end markets, and recyclability prevalence utilizing industry knowledge. 

Why Use the Recyclability Assessment Tool? 

  • Companies can use the CPA Tool to analyze their packaging strategies. With states like California and Oregon evaluating common packaging formats to inform recyclability definitions, regulatory compliance is critical.  
  • The FTC Green Guides are also under revision, which may impact the qualifications of recyclability claims. While some companies may pursue robust, paid evaluation systems, the CPA Tool enables all companies to improve packaging recyclability at the initial concept and design stage, well before production and labeling. 
  • The CPA Tool is the first step for companies to understand the recyclability of their packages. Featuring dynamic design guides with automatic recyclability feedback, users can input existing packages, explore new design ideas, and learn about common design for recyclability challenges for Aluminum, Cartons, Paper, Plastic and Steel packages. 

What People Are Saying 

“APR is pleased to support the Framework to comprehensively assess recyclability,” said Steve Alexander, APR President and CEO. “We commend these harmonization efforts across material types that ensure the APR Design® Guide is upheld as the gold standard to evaluate plastic packaging design.” 

“The Circular Packaging Assessment Tool is an excellent resource for packaging designers as they begin to think about recyclability in their initial stages of design. In fact, using the Circular Packaging Assessment Tool is a great way to prepare for a How2Recycle label request. GreenBlue, along with its How2Recycle program, is excited to see this continued industry harmonization which works for everyone – members, engo’s, consumers, designers – and, maybe most importantly, educates consumers on recycling through labeling,” said Paul Nowak, Executive Director, GreenBlue. 

How the New Assessment Tool Was Developed 

  • The CPA Tool’s five criteria are sourced from the industry-informed Residential Recyclability Framework, a set of guidelines created with input and expertise from the Circularity Council. 
  • This group of 35 industry leaders representing stakeholders from across the recycling value chain and has been instrumental in establishing common recyclability terminology, including defining the MRF Capture Rate threshold for innovative packaging formats and a scoring matrix for end markets. 
  • Recognized standards help align stakeholder action to address challenges in the recycling system.

This kind of industry harmonization, by providing recyclability feedback across materials and stakeholders in the recycling chain, is novel and needed. The CPA Tool spurs industry-wide action that can lead to system-wide improvements in packaging recyclability. As EPR legislation is implemented in the coming years, companies, recyclers, and communities will need a way to remain informed on research, partnerships, and testing to overcome current challenges spanning the recycling system. 

Try the Circular Packaging Tool for yourself and start your free account. Questions or comments? Get in touch with us. 


Learn More About the Tool