Waste News

Plastic trays and foils to be given ‘widely recycled’ labels

The On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) scheme has announced that it has changed its guidance for plastic pots, tubs, trays, and aluminium foil to suggest that these items are now widely recycled by district councils.

OPRL is used across a number of well-known food and drink brands and was first launched with in 2009.

There are three categories that tell consumers how likely local authorities are to accept specific packaging materials. These are:

  • Widely recycled – where 75 per cent or more of local authorities collect that type of packaging
  • Check locally – which involves the recycling of materials between 20 and 75 per cent of that type of packaging for recycling
  • Not yet recycled – where fewer than 20 per cent of local authorities collect that type of packaging for recycling

But the three major changes to the advice are that:

  • Aluminium foils no longer need to be taken to bring sites, and can now be widely recycled in home collections.
  • Certain clear and non-black opaque plastic pots, tubs, and trays can also be widely recycled in home collections.

The change has been guided by data from WRAP as well as Recoup’s household collections report, the latest of which can be found here.

Paul East, packaging technologist at Recoup and member of OPRL’s Guideline Review Panel, said:

By interrogating Recoup’s latest collections data, alongside WRAP’s, we have a robust view of what is and isn’t being collected across the UK.

“That gives us confidence in promoting certain non-black plastic pots, tubs and trays into the readily understandable Widely Recycled category.

“This doesn’t just help consumers understand they should be recycled, it also gives packaging producers a clearer steer on which materials are most likely to be recycled when specifying packaging.”

Emily Martin, Panel member and Wastes Prevention & Education Manager at Essex County Council, said:

Residents want to understand what to do with packaging so clear instructions like Widely Recycled or Not Yet Recycled are much more likely to inspire action.

“That’s why reflecting current local authority collections and moving many pots, tubs and trays into Widely Recycled will help us capture this valuable material for re-sale and avoid unnecessary Landfill tax costs.

“That’s vital as council budgets come under increasing pressure.”

OPRL has also changed its imaging to offer a simpler style for consumers.

Andy has worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years and has been published in some of the UK’s top newspapers. He is now the editor Commercial Waste Magazine and contributes to a large selection of headlines and blog articles on the site.

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