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Recycling signs simplified

27th January 2020

From this year, recycling symbols are being simplified.

84% of consumers check packaging for recycling advice, according to research by the On-Pack Recycling Label, OPRL. However, recycling symbols are often misunderstood so a review of them was started last Summer with the objective of making them clearer to understand.

The new rules have only two symbols – Recycle, Don’t recycle – and are launched this month, January 2020.

The idea is to reduce the complexity of previous symbols for checking local recycling, which led to consumer confusion. According to the OPRL research, 54% of consumers throw one recyclable item into a landfill bin every day. That’s a lot of items that could be recycled.

The new system will designate packaging by whether or not it is collected, sorted and processed with a market for the resulting recyclate. Any materials that at least half of UK Councils do not collect will be labelled ‘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.’

In order to Bin It! in the right bin, clear labelling on packaging is crucial, and 2020 could be the year it happens.