The OPRL (On-Pack Recycling Label) has launched a “binary labelling system” in a bid to simplify the recycling process and reduce contamination.
The not-for-profit company says the new labels, launched this month, are modelled on consumer research insights and are being updated to a simple on-package direction of “recycle” or “don’t recycle”.
Under the system, any material not collected by at least half of councils will automatically be labelled as ‘don’t recycle’ to avoid contamination problems, a spokesperson for OPRL said.
Under the previous scheme, packaging was divided into three sub-groups; ‘widely recycled’, ‘check local recycling’ and ‘not currently recycled’. The OPRL said the updated scheme takes into consideration the UK recycling infrastructure’s ability to sort and process recyclable waste.
OPRL Ltd operates a UK-wide recycling label scheme which it says is used by over 420 member companies and charities. The not-for-profit organisation opened membership to the wider packaging supply chain in 2017 and subsequently to compliance schemes and sustainability consultancies.
Commenting on the new system, the chair of OPRL Jane Bevis said: “This move towards a binary label reflects both our wish to respond to consumer demands for clarity and the maturation of the UK’s collections system towards greater consistency.”
Ms Bevis added: “Our research shows that while 84% of citizens check on-pack labels for recyclability, it’s a split-second glance for a Yes/No decision. Our new ‘Recycle’ and ‘Don’t Recycle’ labels will ensure more packaging gets into the recycling stream and will improve quality at the same time. That’s essential if we are to deliver on targets like the Plastics Pact commitment to almost double recycling of plastic packaging by 2025.”
The labelling organisation is a supporter of the UK Plastics Pact and is an important strategic partner for resources charity WRAP.
Peter Maddox, director of WRAP, commented that clear labelling is “crucial” to encourage the correct recycling of material:
“We wholeheartedly welcome this evolution of the successful OPRL system, which will give citizens a straightforward call to action over whether they can recycle an item or not. This is closely aligned with our ambition under The UK Plastics Pact to meet a 70% recycling rate for plastic packaging by 2025.”