Uniform recycling label launched in UK

Posted by James Ferre on 19th March 2009

A new, universal on-pack recycling label was launched by leading UK retailers yesterday. For the first time, it will provide customers with standardised information on whether packaging can be recycled. The single, industry-supported label replaces the potentially confusing range of symbols previously used.

Anyone who produces packaged products, such as retailers and suppliers, is being encouraged to participate. A string of major retailers and suppliers have already committed to taking part.

The initiative builds on retailers’ existing green commitments. It is intended to boost UK household recycling rates by giving customers the information they need to ensure more of the material that can be recycled is recycled.

The scheme will be operated by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which represents the retail sector in the UK. WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) will monitor changes in local authorities’ recycling capabilities, which will determine the labelling category each packaging materials fall into.

The new on-pack recycling label will have three categories depending on how likely it is that a customer’s local authority will accept specific packaging materials for recycling:

– Widely recycled;
– Check local recycling;
– Not currently recycled.

“Retailers have taken the lead in developing this new recycling label because they recognise their relationship with customers means they are uniquely placed to help people do the right thing,” Stephen Robertson, British Retail Consortium Director General, said. “Customer confusion is the biggest barrier to improving recycling rates. Replacing a potentially confusing array of symbols and messages with a single, standardised logo will help customers recycle more of what can be recycled.”

“A string of household-name retailers are already committed to using the label. I hope we see all businesses that use packaging join this valuable scheme.”

Melanie Leech, Food and Drink Federation Director General, reported that manufacturers were keen to jump on board.

“Food and drink manufacturers are committed to providing more advice to consumers on how best to recycle or recover used packaging, as set out in our Five-fold Environmental Ambition,” she said. “We welcome the launch of this new scheme and will encourage our members to use the new label.”