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Recycling Label Hits a Century

By Simon Kent - 30 Nov 2010 8:6:23 GMT
Recycling Label Hits a Century

The On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) scheme launched by the British Retail Consortium in May 2009 has signed its 100th company. The label scheme supported by WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) enables companies to categorise the materials used in packing their products under three options: 'Widely recycled', where 65% or more of local authorities collect that type of packaging in their area, 'Check local recycling' - where between 15 and 65% of authorities collect the material and 'Not currently recycled' - where less than 15% of authorities collect the material.

The scheme includes retailers such as John Lewis, Sainsburys and Wilkinsons and brands including Arla Foods, Dale Farms, Tate & Lyle and Warburtons. Between them around 60,000 product lines now carry recycling information. On the one hand the label clearly promotes recycling practices among purchasers and households, while on the other, raising awareness of recycling practice in a local area can have a beneficial effect for encouraging local authorities to increase their recycling schemes.

"Signing up our one hundredth company is a tipping point moment," said Bob Gordon, British Retail Consortium Head of Environment and OPRL director. "Up to now, we've just been trying to get buy-in from retailers and manufacturers, but the label now appears on enough products for us to refocus our energies toward raising public awareness and changing consumer behaviour. We need to make sure that more of what can be recycled actually goes into recycling.”

He continued: "In the next few months we'll be announcing plans to work with local authorities and community groups, such as the Womens' Institute, to raise awareness of the label. Currently too much recyclable packaging makes its way to landfill. This label gives consumers the information they need to make the right choices, we just need to make them aware of it."

The overall objective of the initiative and the label itself is to reduce the collection gap - the difference between how much material can be collected for recycling and how much is actually captured.

Currently less than 50 per cent of plastic bottles are captured for recycling. All such bottles are labelled 'widely recycled' under OPRL, so by promoting awareness of the label it is hoped the gap can be closed.

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Topics: Recycling