Recyclable EPS packaging: they will have the number 6

The number must be indicated on the package, with the useful information for proper disposal.


The polymers are recognized thanks to the codification from 1 to 7, in order to identify the material to recycle it correctly. The SPI (Society of Plastic Industry) has determined the codes from 1 to 6 as an international standard, for the most popular polymers, the code 7 instead refers generically to all other types of plastics.


They are classified as follows:

  • 01 PET

  • 02 HDPE

  • 03 PVC

  • 04 LDPE

  • 05 PP

  • 06 PS

  • 07 others

06 is the acronym indicating the polystyrene (or polystyrene) that forms the light material that is usually used in packaging or that is used for the realization, for example, of ordinary disposable plastic cups or plates. The PS category contains different types of materials, including EPS.


As explained by AIPE (Italian Association of Expanded Polystyrene) it is used for example for the boxes for the transport of fish. In its "first life" the EPS box, light and with an excellent insulating power because composed of 98% air, preserves the best freshness of a perishable food such as fish, ensuring hygiene, safety and reducing food waste. After use it can be recovered through separate collection and sent to recycling plants. There the box is crushed, compacted and sent to the concrete recycling phase. At this point, through different processes, it becomes new raw material, which can find hundreds of different applications in finished products made of expanded polystyrene.


Alessandro Augello, president of AIPE, explains: "EPS is a material that can be recycled 100% and countless times to be reused again in different products rich in value and functional to different uses".


The affixing of this symbol on EPS packaging intended for the final consumer will be mandatory from 31 December 2021.


The Decreto Milleproroghe postpones the entry into force of certain regulatory provisions, including environmental labelling of packaging. The article 15, the Extension of the terms in the matter of environment and protection of the territory and the sea, says: "The obligation to label packaging provided for by the Environmental Code (Legislative Decree 152/2006) to art. 219, clause 5", of which the text wording is given for completeness:

Dlgs 152/2006, Article 219 comma 5: "All packaging shall be appropriately labelled in accordance with the rules laid down in the applicable UNI technical standards and in accordance with the determinations adopted by the Commission of the European Union, in order to facilitate collection, re-use, recovery and recycling of packaging and to provide consumers with correct information on the final destination of packaging. Producers are also required to indicate, for the identification and classification of packaging, the nature of the packaging materials used, on the basis of Commission Decision 97/129/EC".


Producers and users of EPS packaging have one year in which to comply with this obligation and to indicate on the label, together with indications for proper disposal, the number assigned to EPS.

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