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Recycling label scheme nears target

December 4, 2009 at 4:23 pm

The festive season is approaching, a time when cash registers ring the sound of purchased gifts and food to fill the cupboards. But does your overflowing yuletide rubbish bin make you wonder if you could recycle more? The answer could be on your leftover packaging.

A new on-pack recycling label scheme launched earlier this year by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), has received its fiftieth signatory, ensuring the labels will be displayed on at least 50,000 products.

The scheme, operated by a not-for-profit company called On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) Limited, has been embraced by many of the country’s major brand names and retailers.

After only seven months, BRC looks on course to achieve its first-year target of sixty signatories.

BRC hope the standardized labels will succeed where it’s thought previous designs could fall short, by providing clear information to the consumer about how widely recycled certain materials are in local areas. The Waste and Resources Action Program (WRAP) will monitor local recycling facilities to ensure products are labelled accurately.

The labels indicate three categories:

  • Widely recycled (65% or more of local authorities collect that packaging type in your area)
  • Check local recycling (15-65%)
  • Not currently recycled (less than 15%)

Concerns that previous labels had become potentially confusing for consumers has prompted worry that too much recyclable material is passing straight to landfill.

Chief Executive of WRAP, Liz Goodwin said, “Consumer confusion is a major barrier to the UK increasing its recycling rates,” adding that “the retail sector needs to collectively adopt this voluntary scheme to enable all of us to recycle more often."

Following a recent report from Friends of the Earth, featured on this website last month, revealing the staggering cost of Britain’s failure to recycle, this is a well-timed and encouraging step towards a greener approach.

Visit OPRL to sign up to the scheme or to see a list of existing members.

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