A string of retail giants have launched a new universal on-pack recycling label that aims to provide customers with standardised information on whether packaging can be recycled.
Retailers such as Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys, Marks and Spencer and Waitrose have launched the label to replace the potentially confusing range of symbols previously used.
Anyone who produces packaged products, such as retailers and suppliers, is being encouraged to participate (see MRW story).
The new on-pack recycling label will have three categories depending on how likely it is that a customers local authority will accept specific packaging materials for recycling:
* Widely recycled: this means 65 per cent or more of local authorities collect that type of packaging in their area.
* Check local recycling: this means 15 per cent to 65 per cent of local authorities collect that type of packaging in their area.
* Not currently recycled: this means less than 15 per cent of local authorities collect that packaging type in their area.
The scheme will be operated by the British Retail Consortium under a company called On-pack recycling label. The Waste & Resources Action Programme will monitor changes in local authorities recycling capabilities which will determine the labelling category each packaging materials fall into.
BRC spokesman Richard Dodd said: The aim is to encourage customers to increase the amount of material that can be recycled and to help local authorities improve the proportion of material they collect from customers which is recyclable as opposed to going to landfill.
BRC director general Stephen Robertson added: Consumer confusion is the biggest barrier to improving recycling rates. Replacing a potentially confusing array of symbols and messages with a single, standardised logo will help customers recycle more of what can be recycled.
The BRC hope to have 60 firms signed up to the label in the first year.
Environment Minister Jane Kennedy said: By standardising the information provided to shoppers, these new recycling labels make it easier for us to know what we can recycle and help us to recycle more. I applaud the retailing sector for taking this initiative.