OPRL launches online tool to make it easier to label packaging for recycling

A new online tool has been developed to make it easier to label packaging accurately for recyclability, and indicates the most recyclable material choices.

Launched during Recycle Week (25 September - 1 October) by the On-Pack Recycling Scheme (OPRL), an organisation set up in 2009 to deliver simple and consistent recyclability labelling for retail and brand packaging, the new tool provides a visual aide to packaging technologists in order to accurately depict the recyclability of a given item of packaging.

The tool is based on the OPRL’s ‘Materials Matrix’, a table for checking the recyclability of 371 combinations of packaging components and materials, and allows users to build accurate recycling labels.

A user can build combinations of up to three packaging components simply by clicking on each ‘component x material’ recyclability icon and then preview the correct packaging label. The user can then download the correct label from the OPRL Label Artwork Library. If the chosen combination does not appear among the more than 1,800 labels available from the OPRL, a custom label can be created free of charge.

The ‘Materials Matrix’ is structured in such a way as to present a hierarchy of Recommended Materials, Other Recyclable Materials and Less Recyclable Materials, making it easier to the user to discern which choices are the most recyclable available.

Commenting on the launch, Jane Bevis, Chair of OPRL said: "This new tool is aimed at packaging technologists who are knowledgeable about the range of packaging materials available, but perhaps less familiar with their recyclability in particular circumstances.  

"For example, non-black HDPE is Widely Recycled in the form of a blister or box, recyclable in larger stores alongside carrier bags as wrap, but Not Yet Recycled when formed into a carton or packing. The tool makes it very clear when other materials would be a better option from a recycling standpoint.

"The Matrix tool stands alongside our simple Labelling tool released earlier in the year, which does the same job but in a format less intimidating for those with a less technical background.  It is another step towards OPRL providing a full suite of tools to aid our members right through from designing recyclable packaging, labelling it consistently and accurately, and engaging consumers in acting on that advice and recycling packaging effectively.  We have more developments coming through the pipeline and will be giving delegates to the RECOUP Conference a preview of the next round of developments."

The launch of the platform seemingly couldn’t come at a better time, with Viridor’s UK Recycling Index 2017, released at the end of September, revealing that 69 per cent of the UK public are frustrated about not having enough educational materials available on recycling, while on 43 per cent of residents are now very confident that they put different waste in the right bins.

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