Pilot Program to Trial Label that Lets Customers Know How to Recycle Packaging

November 4, 2011

According to GreenBlue, the following companies have agreed to pilot the label’s use next year: ConAgra Foods, Costco Wholesale, Microsoft, REI, and Seventh Generation.

Nonprofit sustainability group GreenBlue has announced plans for a national pilot program next year. The plan will provide a voluntary packaging label developed by the organization’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition that lets customers know how to recycle a package after its use.

According to GreenBlue, the following companies have agreed to pilot the label’s use next year: ConAgra Foods, Costco Wholesale, Microsoft, REI, and Seventh Generation.

“Consumers are faced with a confusing landscape of recycling messages and instructions that are often inconsistent or misleading,” stated Anne Bedarf, GreenBlue project manager, in a press release. “We believe this label will create a harmonized system that will help consumers and companies contribute to more effective resource recovery.”

Part of consumer confusion may stem from the fact that recycling systems can vary significantly according to municipality. As a result, many packages that are labeled as being widely recyclable are often not actually recycled.

GreenBlue says that following the pilot phase, the label will be available to any companies that want to use it. The program was based on the successful OPRL system used in the UK and developed over three years of research.

GreenBlue has also released a new “Labeling for Package Recovery” report that details current challenges with inconsistent and misleading labels on packages, evaluates two international package-recovery labeling systems, and discusses how the U.S. recycling and recovery system could be improved.