Retailers plan standardised recycling labels

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A consultation paper proposing a consistent approach to recycling information labelling on consumer packaging across the UK retail sector has just been launched by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) – a retailer working group.
Retailers believe customers are increasingly frustrated with not knowing which packaging can be recycled. They are looking to replace the current, potentially confusing, range of symbols and messages with a single logo.
73% of packaging material is recyclable in England, with good infrastructure in place to handle it. However, only 31% of it is recycled as a number of symbols and messages which are used at present confuse the consumer.
Previously, differences in local recycling regimes have thwarted efforts to produce universal recycling labels. The BRC is proposing packaging which will be divided into three categories from ‘widely recycled’ to ‘not currently recycled’, depending on how likely it is a customer’s local authority will accept the material.
Kevin Hawkins, BRC director general commented: “Retailers plan to have the new logo in use early in the New Year. That shows voluntary action can achieve more, and more quickly, than any legislation. Retailers recognise they are uniquely placed to change customers’ behaviour and help the Government achieve its waste reduction targets.  Ideally material that’s recyclable in one area would be recyclable everywhere but, so far, it isn’t.  Local inconsistencies cannot be allowed to thwart a standardised label which will help millions of customers, and mean more of what can be recycled is collected.”  

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