Henkel offers a free software tool to assess the recyclability of packaging


Recyclable packaging is a prerequisite for a circular economy to work and while you want to consider sustainable options for packaging, where do you start? You might consider software that Henkel (Dusseldorf, Germany) makes available free of charge and has been reviewed for accuracy by a third party.

In order to quickly and reliably determine the recyclability of new packaging, Henkel uses its specially developed software tool EasyD4R, an assessment tool that the company has made public on its website.

“We want to promote open collaboration and accelerate the transition to a circular economy,” says Dr Thorsten Leopold, head of international packaging development for home care products at Henkel. “This can only be successful if all participants along the value chain cooperate, especially with clear definitions and consistent assessments. By sharing our assessment tool, we want to contribute to the recyclability of packaging.

EasyD4R is based on publicly recognized criteria catalogs such as those from Plastics Recyclers Europe and is used by Henkel throughout the company. The aim is to quickly and accurately assess the recyclability of packaging from the earliest stages of product development. This was confirmed by an independent test carried out by the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSIHT. Scientists analyzed the assessment software and its results and compared them to national and international standards.

The software evaluates the recyclability of the packaging based on its composition and the individual weight proportions of the respective components such as base materials, closures, labels or colors. For all affected materials, the tool stores information on the ability to identify during sorting, and to process during recycling. Based on this, EasyD4R displays clear results displayed on a traffic light rating system: It provides information on the recyclability of each design as a percentage and the material combinations that can be optimized for recycling. In doing so, it supports the development of sustainable packaging solutions.

“With this tool, the recyclability of product packaging can be assessed very well,” explains Dr-Ing. Markus Hiebel, Head of Sustainability and Resource Management at Fraunhofer UMSICHT. “We are delighted that companies like Henkel are taking their responsibilities seriously and contributing to the development of recyclable packaging.

Standard for pharmacy chain suppliers

As of the start of this year, Henkel had already shared its on-demand assessment tool with other companies and organizations. Henkel also presented the tool to members of the “Rezyklat-Forum” (“recycling forum”) initiated by the German pharmacy chain dm-drogerie markt. The 32 members include retailers, manufacturers, disposal companies and packaging manufacturers who represent the entire value chain throughout the circular economy. Their feedback has been very positive and dm-drogerie markt has established the EasyD4R tool as the standard for all its suppliers.

“Together with our partners of the ‘Rezyklat-Forum’, we are committed to avoiding and reducing plastic packaging, increasing the recycling quota and increasing the use of recycled materials”, said Sebastian Bayer, president of the “Rezyklat-Forum” and Director of Marketing and Purchasing Director at dm drogerie-markt. “For this, it is important to facilitate the current circular economy systems, in order to ensure that the packaging of products used by consumers can again be fully recycled. Henkel’s EasyD4R tool makes a very important contribution to this.

As of now, interested companies, organizations and experts can download the Recyclability Assessment Tool free of charge from the Henkel website at www.henkel.com/easyd4r.


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