GDR 1: Increase Value in PET Recycling

  • Use transparent and uncoloured PET (preferred), or transparent blue or green in all PET bottles1,2
  • Ensure material choice, adhesive choice and size of sleeve or label is not problematic for recycling3,4,5

PET is polyethylene terephthalate, one of the most common used plastic materials. This Golden Design Rule applies to ly all PET bottles in food and non-food applications, including beverages, home care products, personal care products, and more. Switching from coloured to transparent PET bottles will positively impact supply of high quality recycled PET, and helps ensure only materials that have a viable closed loop recycling pathway are used.

Read more detail in the Resources section of this website.


PET bottles represent 13% of plastic packaging on the market, according to data from Plastics Europe and Eunomia.


1) With a minimum L value of 40; 2) Exception: Where barrier protections (for UV light, CO2, or O2) are required for product shelf life and other solutions (e.g., full-body sleeves) are not possible; 3) Including phase out of PETG and PLA labels/sleeves, non-water soluble/dispersible adhesives and sleeves that cover more than 75% of bottle (unless proven not to limit the recyclability of the product); 4) Exception: Unless proven not to limit the recyclability of the product (e.g. cPET, sleeves that detach during recycling processes prior to optical sorting); 5) Exception: Small non-recyclable bottles exempt