9 July 2019 by Lucy Pegg

OPRL launches labelling review

The On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) will see a review of its rules – which will for the first time take account of current recycling infrastructure.

The revised rules will take account of sorting processes at Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) and the likelihood of recyclate being reprocessed into packaging or other products.

Plastic bottle OPRL labelling, which is now under review

A steering group – made up of members from across the packaging and waste management industry – aims to make recommendations to the OPRL board by October, meaning new rules can be put into place by the end of the year. The group met for the first time on July 3.

Draft rules produced by the steering group will then be reviewed by experts from academia, NGOs and industry.


Stuart Lendrum, OPRL director, said the review would make sure labelling better reflected the reality of recycling today.

He added: “This review will not only ensure our labels reflect the whole recycling process for the first time, going beyond collections to sortation and reprocessing, it will also take us towards a binary labelling system, as envisaged in the recent UK Governments’ joint consultation.

“Since we’re undertaking this ahead of consistent collections or additional infrastructure investment occurs, there may be areas where the Steering Group feel it is too early yet to make that decision, but that’s our aspiration.

“And to support that move, OPRL has commissioned consumer insight research on the most effective calls to action for our labels in future.”

Steering group

Mr Lendrum will chair the 15-strong steering group, which will also include Helen Bird and Adam Herriott of WRAP, Alison Bramfitt of Nestle, Paul East of Recoup, Iain Ferguson of Co-op and Adam Read of Suez, amongst others.

OPRL is considered the most widely recognised recycling label in the UK and claims 3 in 4 consumers recognise OPRL labels and act upon them, according to 2018 research.

“The public is demanding more information on recyclability and wants to be assured of its accuracy – 84% check packaging for recycling advice.”

Jane Bevis, OPRL

Jane Bevis, Chair of OPRL, explained that there was public appetite for better guidance on recycling and the review was part of OPRL’s investment in satisfying this.

She said: “The public is demanding more information on recyclability and wants to be assured of its accuracy – 84% check packaging for recycling advice.

“The extensive discussions already undertaken in the UK Plastics Pact’s fora and by the CPI/WRAP group on paper and board recyclability gives us a substantial body of work and wide cross-sector consensus to draw on.

“This work will also inform our world-leading recyclability evaluation tool update, PREP, offering ISO14021-compliant assessments for self-evaluated claims.”


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