OPRL’s widely drawn Steering Group (see 9 July 2019 release) has developed new recycling rules, to be launched in January 2020, which now take account of UK recycling infrastructure’s ability to sort, process and find markets for packaging materials, as well as the availability of council collection services. These changes move the scheme in line with ISO 14021 for self-declared environmental claims such as recyclability, matching OPRL’s PREP UK tool. The new rules move the majority of packaging into a binary labelling system i.e. “Recycle” or “Don’t Recycle”. As now, there are a small number of exceptions for packaging dependent on bring site or front of store collections. Responding to extensive consumer insight research the new labels are simpler with a clear call to action.
Commenting on the move Jane Bevis, Chair of OPRL Ltd, 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. “ “Our research shows that while 84 percent 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. As a key supporter of the Pact, with OPRL labelling widely used by many participating brands and retailers to activate recycling, we want our labels to drive a step change in behaviour.”
“We’re excited to be launching the new Rules and supporting tools for members once the Christmas rush is over. This has been a tremendous collaboration between industry experts and materials bodies and will be a great leap forward.” Peter Maddox, Director of WRAP UK, said: “Clear labelling on packaging is crucial to encourage citizens to recycle more materials correctly, more often. So 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 (of which OPRL is a supporter) to meet a 70 percent recycling rate for plastic packaging and is a key milestone in our roadmap to achieving this by 2025.”“We are also pleased to see that the new system takes account of the entire recycling journey of a material, not just whether it is collected or not. This will help to ensure that packaging is designed for recyclability and maximise the opportunity for packaging to be recycled back into new packaging.” “OPRL are an important strategic partner for WRAP and we will continue to work closely with them as the roll out of this new system takes shape.”