Friday 21st October 2016                 Change text size:

Recycling labels set to become less confusing

Recycling labels set to become less confusing

Reports show that recycling labels on packaging are just confusing shoppers. Charlotte Reid finds out more about a new set of labels, which aim to show how packaging can really be recycled.

A new recycling label system has been developed to help shoppers figure out what can and cannot be recycled.

The new labels, made by GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) are designed to stop people getting confused by the number of different existing labels and provide them with clear information.

Anne Bedarf is project manager at BlueGreen, and led development on the new labelling system.

She said, “Consumers are faced with a confusing landscape of recycling messages and instructions that are often inconsistent or misleading.

We believe this label will create a harmonised system that will help consumers and companies.”

There is also a website to help educate shoppers as to what can be recycled.

GreenBlue have produced a report into packaging for recycling, called Labelling for Package Recovery.

The report says that for recycling symbols to be seen as credible and to work well it needs to:

•    Match its objective
•    Be nationwide
•    Be easily recognised by shoppers
•    Make people want to recycle more
•    Be easily adaptable to different packaging types

As well as getting more people to recycle, it should prevent recycling from getting “contaminated” with unwanted items which then have to be removed by hand.

This brings up the cost of recycling programmes and can sometimes cause recyclables to be rejected.

The report’s author, GreenBlue project manager Liz Shoch said, “We believe this report outlines how an effective labelling scheme will prompt consumers nationwide to take the correct action and significantly increase collection and recovery of packaging materials.”

The pilot is due to start in January 2012, with companies including ConAgra Foods, Costco Wholesale, Microsoft, REI and Seventh Generation all signed on to take part.

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