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OPRL reviews labelling to consider current recycling infrastructure

The not-for-profit UK labelling system that advises consumers how to recycle packaging will pull together the latest industry guidance.

A key aim of the OPRL labelling review is to ensure that the labelling system keeps pace with developments in collection services and better reflects the reality of current recycling, with the new rules able to be implemented by the end of the year.

OPRL members across the industry have formed a Steering Group which met for the first time on 3 July. The group will recommend changes to the OPRL board later this year and includes Ecosurety head of policy Robbie Staniforth and representatives from Nestlé, Co-op, RECOUP, WRAP, LARAC and SUEZ. A draft of the changes will also be independently reviewed by experts from across industry, academia and NGOs.

The primary goal of the review is to ensure a move towards a binary system that clearly supports items of packaging that can and are effectively recycled, ahead of any long-term regulatory changes arising from ongoing consultations.

A beacon of light

Robbie Staniforth commented “The OPRL label is a beacon of light at the end of the tunnel for the often complicated packaging recycling system in the UK. Clear communication with citizens is vital for improving recycling rates over the next period.

It is a genuine honour to be asked to help with improving this already excellent labelling system. I look forward to the day when the next generation look back with bemusement at packaging that didn’t carry recycling information.”

Stuart Lendrum, Chair of the Review Steering Group and OPRL director, said: “As the only evidence-based recycling label in the UK it’s essential to us that we have the right expertise and access to data on the Steering Group. I’m delighted and very grateful that this impressive array of industry figures has agreed to give us their support in undertaking this review. It will ensure a robust and credible process that both members and stakeholders can take assurance from.”

“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.”

More information on recyclability

Jane Bevis, OPRL chair, added: “The public is demanding more information on recyclability and wants to be assured of its accuracy – 84 percent check packaging for recycling advice. As the UK’s most trusted and widely recognised recycling label we’re determined to get this right, so we’re investing in research, getting the right people round the table and have engaged Richard Parker as our Programmes Manager to ensure we run a robust process.”

“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.”

In August 2018 Ecosurety became the first compliance scheme to join OPRL, enabling it to more effectively support members of both schemes.

Find out more about OPRL.


Ben Luger

Marketing communication specialist

Ben joined the team at the beginning of 2015 to help drive the marketing communications for Ecosurety, working closely with all areas of the business to help spread the good word!


Written by Ben Luger Published 17/07/2019 Topics Packaging

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