Binary labelling system aims to provide clarity over recycling

OPRL (On-Pack Recycling Label) has announced the launch of a new binary labelling system, which will be rolled out in the New Year.

The organisation explained the move follows the UK Government’s favoured approach in the Extended Producer Responsibility consultations and supports The UK Plastics Pact recycling target.

The labels are modelled on consumer research insights, conducted as part of OPRL’s Labelling Rules review.

OPRL’s Steering Group has developed new recycling rules, to be launched in January, which take into account 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 are said to move the scheme in line with ISO 14021 for self-declared environmental claims such as recyclability.

The new rules move the majority of packaging into a binary labelling system – either ‘Recycle’ or ‘Don’t Recycle’.

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% 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.”

Peter Maddox, director at WRAP added, “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.

“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.”