Currently, the Environment Bill proposes recycling labelling be mandatory on all packaging, but there are no specifics in the bill as to how this will be organised.
At issue is whether there might be just one organisation for organising the labelling or could different schemes produce the same or different labels so providing competition in the labelling marketplace.
The pressure to have a single labelling scheme is coming from the UK’s main recycling labels company OPRL – On-Pack Recycling Label Ltd – which is involved with current messaging on retail and other products.
An amendment to the Environment Bill, which would secure a “unified” approach to labelling, has also been tabled by Lib Dem politician Lord Teverson and is due to be debated in the House of Lords in the coming days.
It will specifically state that recycling labels be part of a “single consistent design framework” which is “evidence-based as well as clear, consistent and validated”.
Recycling more is something we can all do to help the Planet
— OPRL Ltd (@OPRL) September 8, 2021
Free for all
Lord Teverson’s amendment comes alongside a ‘#MakeItEasy’ campaign launched by OPRL today (8 September) backing the amendment. Organisations supporting the campaign include waste management company Biffa, compliance scheme Ecosurety and supermarket chain Iceland.
According to ORPL, its #MakeItEasy campaign will work to ensure that the benefits of the mandatory labels are not “undermined” by a “free for all” design.
ORPL said without just having one scheme, this would “inevitably” lead to a proliferation of labels adding to “current confusion” about what can be recycled.
Jane Bevis, executive chair at OPRL, added that a “free for all” design of labels would be a “major setback” to the extended producer responsibility (EPR) proposals.
She said: “A free for all with endless confusing variations of design would undermine the environmental objectives of EPR and would be a major setback. That’s why we’re willing to share our label designs and the huge consumer recognition we’ve built up over the last 12 years with other providers.
“We’re passionate about driving transformational change in packaging resource efficiency as part of addressing climate change and biodiversity loss. We have got to #MakeItEasy for everyone to recycle well.”