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How 2 Recycle – telling it like it is

Posted 30 August 2012 by Anastasia O'Rourke to Ecolabel News.

A new label from the Sustainable Packaging Coalition run by GreenBlue has launched, called How 2 Recycle. It pretty much tells you exactly that – how to recycle – a vast improvement on the traditional numbered recycling logo which isn’t terrible instructive (unless you happen to know what that 1 – PETE is recyclable and often is done so where you are living.)

Making it clearer is  a worthy cause indeed, now let’s look at whether it lives up to its promise.

The label tells you what is the packaging component being referred to (think box, or film), what is the material (plastic, paper, aluminum) and where to put it, and then shows the recycling icon – indicating “recyclability”. So you could have, for example, a label that has the recycling logo crossed out – as that material cannot be. Not sure what manufacturers will go for that, but you never know.

Whether a material IS in fact recycled in a given region is the next question, because even if in theory it could be, we all know that it doesn’t necessarily mean that its done in practice. The solution proposed here is for a link to the website where you can look that up. We can only surmise that that will be the harder part to populate – data-wise as right now they send you on to other links where you can look it up. Any grantors want to fund that part? It could be very cool to have an app.

Turns out that it is based on a British system launched by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) with support from the government-backed Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in March 2009.