Crisp packets added to in-store recycling labelling

OPRL has announced it is adding crisp packets and metallised snack and chocolate wrappers to its in-store recycling labelling.

The move builds on earlier announcements to include polypropylene (PP) films from 1 January 2022.

OPRL said the decision, backed by WRAP, will support The UK Plastics Pact target to ramp up all plastics packaging recycling to 70% by 2025 by ‘simplifying’ messaging and broadening the range of plastic bags and wrappers consumers can recycle at front of store.

Following research into the ability of sorting and reprocessing infrastructure to sort and recycle these lightly metallised wrappers within PP film streams, OPRL revealed it has extended further the use of its films label to packaging appearing on shelf.

Several supermarkets already collect crisp packets and similar wrapping via front of store recycling points, with many others trialling this ahead of expected roll out.

The definition of qualifying metallised packaging, agreed between CEFLEX, WRAP and OPRL, is PP films where the metallisation layer is a maximum 0.1 micron applied by vacuum or vapour deposition to the inside of the pack, such as crisp packets. The labelling extension does not apply to packaging materials constructed of aluminium foil laminates such as pet food pouches.

Karen Graley, co-chair of OPRL’s technical advisory committee, said, “This move to extend further our specialist in-store recycling labelling for PE and PP films to include metallised crisp packets and confectionary wraps is good news in simplifying messaging for consumers, allows us to capture more of this valuable material and drive higher recycling rates. It was crucial for us to establish the evidence base that the UK’s sorting and recycling infrastructure can cope with these lightly coated wrappers, and that they won’t contaminate recyclate streams or reduce quality, before making this move and we’re grateful for the information and assurances we’ve been given by key infrastructure stakeholders.”