We’ve all been in this position: staring blankly at an empty food container, wondering if we’re allowed to throw it in our recycling bin or if this particular type of product is not currently accepted in our area. Our existing recycling labelling system is, at best, on the confusing side, but recycling and recovery company SUEZ has proposed a brand new recycling label system to remove the confusion around what we can and cannot recycle here in the UK.
Let’s take a look at the new labelling system to see how much easier at-home recycling could be for us in the near future.
The proposed traffic light labelling system
Image credit: SUEZ recycling and recovery UK
As you can see, the new labelling system adopts a ‘traffic light’ approach to the tried-and-true Mobius loop logo we’ve all come to know. The idea behind this ‘eco label’ is to help make recycling easier and more understandable for consumers. By simplifying the existing labelling system, and using a more visual, colour-based approach, it should be easier for people to learn, remember and understand what’s being communicated to them on any packaging.
While existing packaging does tell you if something is recyclable, it doesn’t make it clear how easy it is to recycle it.
The new system aims to solve this by bringing consistency to packaging, to manufacturers and to local council recycling schemes across the country.
What are the benefits?
The instant familiarity of green, amber and red should remove most of the confusion for consumers; most people understand what each colour means. Being able to see this clearly, at a glance, on packaging allows shoppers to adopt a recycling mindset while they’re shopping.
The simplicity of this system means communication around recycling is made much more straightforward. The numbers associated with each item will be permanent, and local councils will be able to label their recycling bins to match. That means you simply throw the item into the corresponding bin, instead of having to deal with ‘check local recycling’ or other vague terms we’ve become used to.
Purchase by colour, recycle by numbers
The proposed system looks to bring recycling to the forefront earlier in a consumer’s purchasing decision, with the idea being that someone is more likely to buy a product with a green ‘easy to recycle’ symbol than a red ‘cannot recycle’ one. This, in turn, may push manufacturers to produce more eco-friendly packaging for their products.
By harmonising the associated number with local councils, consumers can be much clearer about where they can throw their packaging away. If a bin has the same number as the packaging, you know you can safely recycle it there. It brings confidence to consumers, instead of leaving them in limbo – where they might throw away something that is easy to recycle purely out of confusion.
At Hinton’s Waste, we’re always up to date on recent developments within the recycling industry. At our waste management facility, we always aim to improve our recycling process, and welcome insightful changes to the way the UK public is taught about recycling and encouraged to recycle. To that end, we provide an efficient waste management and recycling service for commercial and domestic customers across London, Sutton and Croydon. To find out more about our services, simply contact us today.