Are you up to date on your recycling news? You may have heard that the recycling label scheme OPRL is to include polypropylene (PP) films from 1 January 2022.
This is an exciting development for sustainability and recycling. OPRL have said this would bring PP flexible packaging into line with PE films. This would broaden the range of soft packaging that consumers can recycle.
OPRL said it was confident collections would be available to more than 75% of the UK population. This would be for non-metallised mono-polymer PP film. The material is processed into new packaging and products.
Major supermarkets’ networks of front-of-store collections for PE films will be extended to deal with the change.
Work is in hand to establish the availability of processing capacity and functioning markets for metallised crisp, snack and chocolate wrappers. These are also covered by some of the new in-store collections networks. OPRL said it hoped these too could be labelled as ‘recyclable’ in the near future.
Which materials are included?
PP films with less than 5% polyethylene (PE) or ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) can therefore be labelled with OPRL’s Special Films label from next January, as PE films.
At Law Print, we have been offering Ready2Recycle bags which can be made from PE/PE and PP/PP mono material structures. More importantly, we champion the use of recyclable plastics, helping big and small brands alike to create more sustainable supply chains.
Jane Bevis, Chair of OPRL Ltd, said “We know there’s a huge appetite among consumers to recycle more of this lightweight packaging, with tremendous responses to in-store trials by retailers. So it’s exciting that the long-established major supermarkets’ network of front-of-store collections for PE films is being extended and strengthened and will now encompass a broader range of bags and wrapping.
That means from January consumers will be able to take many more types of packaging for recycling at their local supermarket.”
“Our research shows 30 % of us are receiving more bags and wrapping at home as our shopping habits change, so it’s vital we capture this material for recycling and develop the processing capacity – preferably here in the UK – to ensure these resources are incorporated into new packaging or products.”
What does OPRL say?
Margaret Bates, Executive Director of OPRL Ltd, went on to explain. “Mono-polymer polypropylene without heavy coatings or metallisation is an important first step in extending our advice to consumers. It will bring pasta, biscuit and other everyday packaging in line with bread, veg and fruit, and loo roll bags.
The traceability and audit commitments under the Flexible Plastics Fund give full assurance. 80% of the volumes collected are processed here in the UK. As a result, we hope processing solutions and new markets are found for other bags and wraps. Such as crisp packets and metallised sweet and chocolate wrappings in the near future. Until then the ‘Don’t Recycle’ label will continue to apply to these.”
“We’re very conscious that our labels are trusted by consumers because they constitute a ‘promise’. 95% of people are confident they understand our ‘Recycle’ label. Therefore if they put packaging bearing it in the right bin, then it will be recycled. We respect and value that trust, built up over 12 years of labelling packaging. So we’re committed to verifying the necessary infrastructure is in place to deliver on that promise. And to make sure markets exist to make this an economically viable and sustainable process.”
“The partnerships that have come together to deliver these industry initiatives are powerful drivers of change so we hope that evidence confirming the scale of accessible infrastructure and markets will be forthcoming very soon. That will enable us to give a simple and clear message to consumers, making it easier to engage them in active recycling.”
Carole Bayne, Sales & Marketing Director at Law Print says:
“This is a great development for the industry, especially those businesses who are seeking to become a B-Corp in the future. This opens up a new avenue of sustainability. we’re all ready to speak to those who are looking to change their packaging to PP or PE films in line with these new guidelines.”
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