RECOUP joins OPRL ownership

RECycling Of Used Plastics (RECOUP), the plastic packaging recycling body, is to join the expanding ownership of the On-Pack Recycling Label scheme (OPRL). This latest development further extends ownership across bodies sharing OPRL’s mission to promote greater and more effective recycling of packaging materials.

RECOUP follows the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) UK, which joined early November, as an industry body taking part-ownership of OPRL, alongside owner the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

RECOUP, which represents members from across the plastic production, supply, collection and recycling chain, says that it has developed a positive working relationship with OPRL in recent years. It suggests that the move to a more formal arrangement signals greater collaboration in future as both organisations seek to maximise recycling of plastics packaging by engaging consumers more effectively.

Launched in 2009, OPRL is now used by about 500 brands and aims to provide consistent recycling messaging on packaging. It has three categories that tell consumers how likely it is that their local authorities will accept specific packaging materials for recycling:

  • 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.

An increasing number of local authorities are now collecting plastic pots, tubs and trays for recycling, meaning that these are likely to achieve ‘widely recycled’ status as part of the 2016 OPRL guidelines review, alongside plastic bottles. Linking to OPRL is also intended reinforce the continued RECOUP technical work on plastic packaging design, plastic collections and communications activities through the Pledge4Plastics campaign, enabling broader engagement with consumers.

RECOUP leads the Pledge4Plastics campaign, through which people commit to recycling one extra plastic bottle per week. The project aims to help meet the UK target for households to recycle 57 per cent of plastic packaging by 2017, approximately double the recycling efforts from 2013.

A ‘clear and consistent recyclability message to the consumer’

Commenting on the move, Stuart Foster, Chief Executive of RECOUP, said: “This is a natural and exciting development for both organisations. With a myriad of eco and identification labels available including the misleading SPI codes [codes used by the Society of the Plastics Industry to identify the plastic resin used in a product], I have been a very keen supporter of OPRL as the only viable recycling label option, and the best opportunity to get a clear and consistent recyclability message to the consumer.”

Jane Bevis, Chair of OPRL Ltd, added: “We’re delighted that our links with other organisations promoting recycling are being strengthened by this closer relationship with RECOUP. It’s essential that customers hear consistent and clear messages about the importance of recycling in establishing the circular economy and growth of green jobs here in the UK, as well as saving council tax costs and delivering significant environmental benefits. Business has a vital role to play by coming together to give a strong lead, especially as public spending cuts take further effect.”

More information is available at OPRL’s website.

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