Shoppers will be able to more easily recycle thin plastic packaging such as bread bags and cereal liners thanks to an agreement between the countrys biggest supermarkets and the On Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) scheme.
Stores which collect plastic bags for recycling will now accept clean plastic film packaging in the same facilities, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) announced today (April 7). Carrier bag banks can be found at more than 4,500 supermarkets.
A new version of the on-pack label will appear on relevant packaging to encourage customers to dispose of it in this way.
The thin plastic, also used around multipacks of cans and household goods such as toilet roll, makes up 43% of all plastic household packaging and weighs a total of 645,000 tonnes every year. By comparison, plastic bottles account for 32%, or 480,000 tonnes. Thin plastic film is fully recyclable but until now most people have had no means of recycling it.
Retailers recognise in-store collection of thin plastics is an efficient way they can contribute further to recycling efforts. They expect to see council sites and kerbside collections handle the majority of packaging and other waste, such as electrical goods, which they claim is not appropriate for return in store.
Bob Gordon, head of environment at the British Retail Consortium and director of On-Pack Recycling Label Ltd, said: This announcement shows retailers are prepared to go above and beyond what is expected of them to support customers environmental efforts. We know many consumers want to do their bit for the planet and this move will be a big help.
For reasons of hygiene and space, retail premises are not suitable for handling large quantities of waste, but stores already have facilities to recycle carrier bags. They can double the effectiveness of these units by taking plastic films as well. Were pleased to see certain local councils matching this commitment where other waste is concerned.
The retailers supporting the scheme are: Asda; The Co-operative Group; WM Morrison; J Sainsburys; Tesco; and Waitrose.
The products involved include: plastic-wrapped bakery goods, breakfast cereal liners, packaging for household goods (toilet roll wrap, kitchen roll wrap) plastic-wrapped grocery produce (fresh and frozen), multipack shrink wrap.
The OPRL symbol was launched two years ago by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and is supported by WRAP, the governments delivery body on waste. It is used by more than 100 companies on over 60,000 product lines and is being updated to help shoppers identify which thin plastics can now be taken back to store.