Glossary and Definitions
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Waste that comes from products that consumers have used and recycled (rather than sending to landfill) is referred to as post-consumer waste. Label materials may have recycled content that comes from post-consumer waste.
Once the post-consumer waste is recycled, it then is sometimes referred to as post-consumer recycled content e.g. post-consumer recycled paper.
Facilities that have been designed to effectively compost large volumes of suitable waste, diverting organic material from landfill and creating compost materials for new use.
Sometimes also called pre-consumer waste, this content is production waste created in a manufacturing process and otherwise destined for landfill or incineration.
Polylactic acid (PLA) is a compostable polyester made from renewable plant materials such as corn. PLA is able to be extruded to make a white or clear biaxially orientated film label material.
A circular economy is based on the principles of eliminating waste, the continual re-use of products and materials, and regenerating natural resources.
Compostable describes materials that are suitable for microbial treatment at end of life in a composting environment, whether commercial or in the home. For packaging to be verified compostable according to the Australian Standards it must biologically disintegrate and biodegrade to set levels within set time periods. The relevant Standards are AS 4736-2006 (biodegradable materials suitable for commercial composting) and Australian Standard AS 5810-2010 (biodegradable plastics suitable for home composting). The WasteMINZ Best Practice Guidelines for the Advertising of Compostable Products and Packaging is a great resource which gives guidance about what claims can be made on compostable packaging.
Biodegradable refers to a natural process where micro-organisms convert materials into natural substances such as water, carbon dioxide and biomass. The process of biodegradation depends on environmental conditions like location and temperature, the kind of packaging material, and the application.
Lightweighting is the process of downgauging materials to use less resources whilst maintaining functionality.
1 PET - Easily separated and recycled into food grade containers, some decorations can limit its recyclability
2 HDPE - Can be recycled into food grade containers, some decorations can limit its recyclability
5 PP - Can be recycled into non-food products
The Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) is an evidence-based labelling system for Australia and New Zealand that provides easy to understand instructions about how to correctly dispose of every part of a product’s packaging.
The Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (or PREP) is an online tool that provides clear, consistent and validated information about the recyclability of specific packaging formats.
Life-cycle assessment is a process to review the environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product's life, from raw material creation right through to disposal or recycling.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation works with business, government and academia to build a framework for an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design. Their mission is to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. Check out their website for loads of great information and resources.
Closed-loop recycling is a production process in which waste is collected, recycled and used to make the same new product it came from. This process is focused on resource sustainability and aims to keep materials at their highest utility and value.
Carbon neutral is the achievement of net zero carbon dioxide emissions by either balancing carbon emissions with carbon removal or my eliminating carbon emissions. Also referred to as zero carbon footprint.
The amount of carbon dioxide emissions as a result of an activity such as a manufacturing process.
Chain of custody certification is the mechanism used to ensure the traceability of wood material from a certified forest to any point along on the supply chain. Certification allows companies throughout the supply chain to label their certified products, which in turn enables consumers to identify and choose products that support responsible forest management.
Read more about the process of making a certified label on our blog where we share a handy infographic on Chain of Custody labels.
De-inking is the process of removing printing ink from paper in the recycling process to make de-inked pulp. De-inked pulp can be used to make higher grades of recycled paper.
Virgin fibre is fresh paper fibres made from new trees. Without virgin fibre the paper cycle cannot be maintained, as recycled paper fibres degrade after several uses.