Beverage carton association buys into label scheme

The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) UK has today (9 November) announced that it is to become joint owner of On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) Ltd, which runs the UK scheme aiming to provide consistent recycling messaging on retailer and brand packaging.

The deal will see ACE UK, which represents Tetra Pak, Elopak and SIG Combibloc, three of the largest manufacturers of beverage cartons for the UK market, share ownership with the current owners, the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the trade association for the retail sector.

Launched in 2009, OPRL has always been owned solely by the BRC, but operates as an arm’s length company limited by guarantee. Any profits the company makes is reinvested into activities to promote recycling of packaging.

The OPRL scheme, which was devised to present clear guidance on recyclability, has three categories that tell consumers how likely it is that their local authority will accept specific packaging materials for recycling.

Beverage carton association buys into label schemeThese categories are:

  • Widely recycled – 75 per cent or more of UK local authorities collect that type of packaging;
  • Check local recycling – between 20 and 75 per cent of UK local authorities collect that type of packaging; and
  • Not currently recycled – fewer than 20 per cent of UK local authorities collect that type of packaging.

Over 150 manufacturers, producers and retailers use the label system to inform consumers about their product packaging recyclability.

OPRL seeking to ‘build closer ties’ with industry bodies

ACE states that it intends for the move to create a strong leadership position for the beverage carton industry to promote greater and more effective recycling. The group seeks to promote the renewable, recyclable and low-carbon choices in the drinks packaging industry and runs its carton recycling programme.

Commenting on the move, Richard Hands, Chief Executive of ACE UK, said: “We believe that simple, easy to understand on-pack recycling information is vital in helping consumers to recycle more. To this end, we have worked closely with OPRL for several years, including developing the special beverage carton recycling label which reflects the wide availability of local authority collection services for cartons, often at kerbside.

“Clear information and leadership is required to achieve our common aims of greater and more effective recycling, and by joining together we believe we can better realise these aims.”

Jane Bevis, Chair of OPRL Ltd, added: “This is a significant step in OPRL’s development as we build closer ties with other industry bodies working to increase recycling. It is essential that there is clear and coherent leadership, not only to meet the UK’s recycling targets, but also to establish the material base of the circular economy and growth of green jobs here in the UK.

“We’re very excited that ACE UK is the first of what we hope will be a number of new owners joining current owners the BRC. We are immensely grateful to the BRC for all the support they’ve given since our launch in 2009 and are delighted they will continue their interest as joint owners as we move into this next phase of our development.”

Find out more about OPRL, the on-pack recycling label scheme.

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