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PullApart is a UK-based, independent packaging recycling classification system. Applied at the kerbside, it combines environmental and consumer packaging surveys to provide customers with a measurement of the ease with which specific types of packaging may be recycled locally. The process was invented by Michael Butler of Dawlish in 2005, and is operated for free.


As PullApart is applied to existing local authority-installed recycling bin refuse collection systems, its scoring scheme is dependent on individual local authorities’ own packaging disassembly practices.[1] Sample packaging is disassembled, according to the Local Authority’s process, rearranged and its components graded for ease of recycling. The raw information from this exercise is also made available to the public.

A final, consumer-oriented "PAC" (PullApart Code) score is achieved by measuring what proportion of a product's components is recyclable from the kerbside. The PAC score is represented by 13 stages of ‘traffic light’ grading.

Broader aims[edit]

PullApart’s stated aims are to encourage, manufactures, retailers, food and agricultural producers to give greater weight to the ease of disposal and recycling in their packaging designs. Weighting the consumers point of view equally to that of packaging manufactures, retailers and recyclers, in the handling of domestic waste products for kerbside collections. To provide consumers with information enabling product choice (ethical consumerism), that's easy, local and totally kerbside recyclable. Furnishing an unambiguous tool, that measures the differences between those mentioned above, assisting in the optimisation of products for the goal of near Zero waste.

According to PullApart’s current Teignbridge (2011) survey of over 2000 products, 2.84% are ideally suited for kerbside recycling and a further 29.32% are good, whilst the rest fail.[2] The sample area, Teignbridge, and therefore Teignbridge District Council, has a current recycling rate of 57% (2008/2009), (by weight).[3] Quoting from their periodical, “Teignbridge Life” explaining to local people how PullApart works: “The online packaging recycling guide features a free search function which classifies ordinary consumer products, like cereal boxes, with a 'PullApart' rating. The rating breaks the product down into its components, explaining which parts can be recycled in Teignbridge.”[4]

Awards for the scheme[edit]

PullApart is considered to be of “Environmental Best Practice” by The Green Organisation.[5]

Comparison with other efforts[edit]

Worldwide there are broader packaging scoring systems that address the full environmental impact of packaging. Recycling being one factor, other vital considerations include the use of recycled materials in the package, avoidance of toxic substances, minimization of packaging, effects on atmosphere (greenhouse gas, VOC, etc.), use of renewable resources, etc. Efforts involve methodologies such as life cycle assessment to inventory the all environmental impacts and factors.[6] There are many Sustainability metrics and indices, some specifically for packaging.[7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Teignbridge refuse collection systems". teignbridge.gov.uk. 
  2. ^ PullApart's Teignbridge survey: 2011 (constantly updated)
  3. ^ Teignbridge District Council's recycling rate: 2008/2009 - 57%
  4. ^ Teignbridge Life Summer 2009(a PDF download)
  5. ^ Green Apple Awards Green Apple Awards
  6. ^ "PRINCIPLES, STRATEGIES & KPIs FOR PACKAGING SUSTAINABILITY" (PDF). Sustainable Packaging Alliance. July 2010. Retrieved 5 Sep 2011. 
  7. ^ "COMPASS, Metrics for Rating Packages" (PDF). Sustainable Packaging Coalition. 2011. Retrieved 6 Sep 2011. 
  8. ^ "Wal-Mart Unveils Packaging Scorecard to Suppliers". Wal-Mart. November 2, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-29.