Large retailers to adopt new recycling labels that make sense

More of us are recycling these days. Figuring out what’s recyclable and what isn’t, however, is often like wandering through a maze. But there’s finally a light at the end of that tunnel.

Five major companies, including Seventh Generation, Microsoft and outdoor gear retailer REI, will be adopting new recycling labels that will help take the confusion out of recycling for consumers.

Beginning in January 2012, the Package Recovery Label System’s national pilot program rolls out the new voluntary recycling labels. Developed over a three year period by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, the new labels will classify packaging as

    • widely recyclable
    • not yet recyclable
    • or having limited recycling and suggesting consumers check locally to see whether it’s recycled in their area.

These confusing labels will begin being replaced with simpler ones

The labels won’t address recycled content, however.

The SPC will also give its website – – on the new labels.

Even though the new labels will make it easier for consumers to identify what is and isn’t recyclable, there will still be challenges. For example, there will still be greenwashing to deal with, something that’s unfortunately as common as automatic garage doors.  And there’s no consistent labeling system across all the materials currently in use.

Still, it’s a step in the right direction. And perhaps it will encourage even more Americans to recycle, rather than simply toss recyclables in the trash.

3 Responses

  1. Very cool news. I hope these will be bigger so that I can read them. I always have to go get my kids to read the old ones. I am like, “Is that a 1,2,4 or 5?” and their like, “You are old.” Anyway, these will be good for everyone…if they are big. 😉

  2. It would be better to change the plastic products to compostable products made from renewable resources like sugarcane and corn; then, recycling would not be necessary. The compostable products could be sent to composting facilities and made into earth friendly compost.

    • Agreed. But until that happens, at least we can begin to understand better what can and can’t be recycled now.

      Thanks for your comments!

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