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Industry Insight

A New Label in Town?

By Richard Romano
Published: July 19, 2012

I know, I know: we need another eco-label like we need a hole in our collective heads. But here’s one that actually sounds like a good idea, even if its execution doesn’t answer some questions. Let’s face it: there are many things that we discard that are perfectly recyclable and oftentimes even if we know that it is recyclable in theory, we’re often stumped as to what specifically to do with it. Enter the “How2Recycle” label, created by GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition that tells you what components make up the product, if they can be recycled (and which portions can’t), and other specific info that may be needed. The labels are currently being used on some Seventh Generation products, as well as products from outdoor outfitter REI.

Adds The Living Principles:
Both companies are members of the SPC, and fellow members ConAgra Foods, Costco Wholesale and Microsoft will join them in using the label on Orville Redenbacher popcorn, Kirkland Signature brand products and computer accessories. The label will also crop up on fellow SPC member products, including General Mills’ Yoplait yogurt fridge pack, Esteé Lauder Companies’ Aveda Outer Peace Acne Pads, and Sealed Air’s Fill-Air Inflatable packaging, and will also be found on Ampac’s No. 2 Pouch and goods at BJ’s Wholesale Club.
The idea was inspired by the UK’s On-Pack Recycling Label.
Bedarf said studies of the U.K. label found consumers appreciate that companies are clear about the recyclability of their packaging, even if the materials can’t be recycled.
Yeah, well, I think we need a little more than transparency, but I think it’s a good start. (By the way, Plastic bag recycling has a whole other label and online resource.) I like the idea of packaging being more explicit about its recycling options. I can see the idea going even farther, such as, say, a scannable code that links to a smartphone app that uses your current location to give even more specific info about recycling options. Still it’s very much a pilot project right now and I will curious to see how it develops.

Please offer your feedback to Richard. He can be reached at richard@whattheythink.com.



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