On-Pack Recycling Label Ltd. (OPRL), a UK non-profit scheme with over 400 members, is introducing new rules governing recycling labels, which it says will give greater transparency on the final fate of packaging.
The new guidelines specify what will be sorted and reprocessed and which pack designs are likely to be landfilled or incinerated, said OPRL in a statement 29 Jan.
The new rules are expected to drive more rapid switching into sustainable packaging ahead of extended producer responsibility (EPR) reforms as new labels are applied over the next 3 years.
Drawing together extensive data and evidence, wide consultations and consumer testing, the new OPRL guidelines move the majority of packaging into a binary labelling system i.e. “recycle” or “don’t recycle”, said OPRL in a 29 Jan statement.
The changes will see three unnamed polymer types moving from “check locally” to “recycle” status.
The NIR detectability will also determine whether some black plastics move from “check locally” to either “recycle” or “don’t recycle”.
In addition, two unnamed polymers, which OPRL said are widely collected but mainly landfilled or incinerated, will move from “check locally” to “don’t recycle”.
Coated paper and card quality tolerances immediately tighten up to a maximum of 15% plastic by weight for recycle status and reduce further to 10% in January 2023, giving markets time to respond. (didn’t quite get this, so left as is)
Coffee cups will get a “specialist” label to support in-store collections for recycling.
“This has been the most inclusive, extensive and rigorous review to date of our recycling labelling rules,” said Stuart Lendrum, chair of the steering group and OPRL board director, commenting on the review.
The results, he went on to say, give consumers clarity on the true recyclability of packaging.
Also commenting on the new rules, Iain Ferguson, environment manager at founding OPRL member, the Co-op, said they will help consumers, who increasingly want clearer information on what to do with their packaging.
“We welcome all moves that simplify messaging around correct disposal routes and hope that OPRL’s latest review will help drive better habits and more informed action amongst the UK population,” he added.