DIN SPEC 91446

The new standard for recycled plastics simplifies procurement and ensures quality.

The DIN SPEC 91446 is ready!

cirplus is setting standards

We introduce you to the DIN SPEC 91446

The DIN SPEC 91446 is the classification of recycled plastics based on Data Quality Levels for use and (digital) trading.

The new standards facilitate your procurement process by bringing transparency about the materials being traded. The data quality standards provide our industry with a common language for data quality that allows the parties trading recycled material to be more assertive and avoid misunderstandings.

It was initiated by cirplus and DIN (German Institute for Standardization) in August 2020, aiming to produce the much-needed standards for the industry. 16 companies from the plastic and recycled plastics industry joined the consortium led by The Institut für Kunststoff- und Kreislauftechnik (IKK) to produce the standards that we have today.

What exactly is the DIN SPEC 91446?

The DIN-SPEC 91446 defines a system for the classification of recycled plastics based on the quantity of data available for the material. It provides guidelines for the labeling of the recyclate type and content and also gives guidance for the characterization of plastic waste as feedstock material for recycling, including:

Definitions (such as PIR and PCR)

Quality grades based on data depth ("Data Quality Levels" - DQLs)

Labels regarding type of recycling and recycled content share

Processes of handling plastic waste (collecting, testing, processing)

The so-called DQLs (“Data Quality Levels”) are the heart of DIN SPEC 91446. They are labels for quick assessment, making the commercialization and sample testing of recyclates and plastic waste easier and more transparent. They classify recycled plastics based on the available data (information and properties) known about the material. The more information provided, the higher the DQL.

How does DIN SPEC 91446 contribute to the future of recycled plastics procurement?

Because it is the key to unlocking demand for recycled plastic in high quality applications.

One of the reasons keeping recyclates from being used more is the price. Today, high-quality recyclates are generally more expensive than virgin material, and this price difference happens due to the lack of recognized standards for recyclates and the lack of digitization in the industry. These factors make it hard to provide transparency about the material and create a barrier for companies willing to use recyclates but are lacking information about the materials they want to buy.

Better classification of recyclates based on data depth is the first step to enable recyclates to be commercialized with ease and consistency, increasing its demand, and consequently allowing plastic waste to be recycled on scale, closing the loop for circular plastics. The DIN SPEC 91446 and its Data Quality Levels will provide the market with a methodology for identification and labeling that minimizes the obstacles for the industrial usage of recyclates and also establishes guidelines for consistent plastic waste specifications.

The increase in recyclates acceptance combined with the dissemination power of digital solutions such as platforms, blockchains, and machine learning will enable recyclates to compete with virgin plastic or even to become the go-to commodity for plastic applications wherever it is feasible.

How does the recycled plastics industry benefit from DIN SPEC 91446?

The expectations that buyers have often differ from those of the suppliers — thus frequently causing misunderstandings. With the DIN SPEC 91446 we bridge the communication gap between the various stakeholders of the circular plastics value chain and make sure they speak the same language when it comes to quality requirements.

With this new standard for the data quality of recyclates and waste feedstock, the commercialization of upcycled material at scale will be possible for the first time. Such higher quality materials are regulated more strictly, consequently requiring a higher quality and quantity of information on the buyer side than for downcycled material. These requirements on the data quality of recyclates and plastic waste feedstock can now finally be met by applying the DIN SPEC 91446.

How will the DIN SPEC 91446 be implemented on cirplus - the global marketplace for circular plastics?

As the initiators of DIN SPEC 91446 we have prepared our global marketplace for circular plastics to go all in on increasing the transparency and data quality of listings on the cirplus platform. This is how the new standard for the data quality of plastic waste feedstock and recyclates will be integrated on cirplus:

List your material: Automatically specify your material according to the new standard with the first DIN 91446-ready offer creation form.

Product data sheets: Offer your customers on cirplus automatically created DIN SPEC 91446-compliant product data sheets.

Integrated lab testing: Get your material DIN SPEC 91446-certified seamlessly with our network of trusted partner testing labs.

Unique selling point: Differentiate your offers from your competitors by being among the first suppliers to offer DIN SPEC 91446-compliant material effortlessly on cirplus.

How was the DIN SPEC 91446 created?

The standards’ progress was divided in 5 milestones:


Initial composition of the scope, terms and definitions of the standards and labels. The outcome is the finished DIN SPEC 91446 draft.




The standards were open for commentary from the participants of the plastics and recycled plastic industry. The outcome was valuable feedback from the future users of the standards.




After the Public Consultation period, the consortium revised all comments made on the draft and it was adjusted accordingly.




DIN revised the outcome of the adjusted document and final iterations were done between them and the consortium.




The DIN spec 91446 was published on November 12, 2021 and it is since then ready to be used by the plastics and recycled plastic industries.



The DIN-SPEC 91446 is live and ready to be used!

Outlook: From Germany into the world

Yes, DIN-SPEC is a German standard. But we don't stop here! The goal of the DIN-SPEC 91446 is to transfer it into European and international norms and standards.

Convenors & Consortium

Prof. Hans-Josef Endres (IKK)

Dr. Madina Shamsuyeva (IKK)

Christian Schiller (cirplus GmbH)

Members of the consortium


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