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Veolia calls for standardised recycling labelling

By 11/02/2020News

Waste management company Veolia has called for labelling to become nationally standardised to help alleviate recycling confusion.

The firm issued its demand after research conducted by YouGov and commissioned by Veolia suggested only 8% of Brits “strongly believe recycling labelling on products to be clear and only 12% of them trust this labelling”.

Veolia has called for binary labelling on packaging which states if they can or cannot be recycled

Richard Kirkman, chief technology and innovation officer of UK and Ireland for Veolia, said: “How can we expect people to recycle if they don’t trust the information presented to them?

“The nation is ready; people are onboard with recycling. To reach our targets, the UK needs standardisation in the initial stage of the chain.

“There is an answer: binary labelling which clearly states if it can or can’t be recycled. This paired with signage and the consistency in guidelines to accommodate all locations is fundamental to help people separate their products correctly.”

YouGov also found the public were nearly 50% more likely to recycle at home compared to when out, and almost twice as likely to recycle at home than at work.


The research suggested the most common place for people to look to for recycling information when on the go was on the bins themselves.

The researched was commissioned by Veolia and conducted by YouGov

The firm has therefore called for the pairing of clearer signage on bins with consistent labelling, in the hope of ensuring a reduction in the imbalance of recycling in the workplace and when out.

On a more positive note, Veolia says it also found 66% of people said it had become easier to recycle in the last five years.

And, it claims it found 91% of people agreed that recycling was ‘worth it’ in terms of time and energy output.


In January, OPRL – the On-Pack Recycling Label organisation – launched a new labelling system in a bid to offer more transparency regarding the fate of packaging (see story).

The new OPRL labels advising consumers on whether items can be recycled

The simplified advice tells consumers that a product either can or cannot be recycled, with the labels reading ‘Recycle’ and ‘Don’t recycle’.

And, in response to Veolia’s challenge to the industry, chair of the OPRL Jane Bevis said: “Consumers tell us that clear, consistent advice is essential – they want to do the right thing and they want recycling labels on packaging to give practical information they can trust.

“That’s why we’ve redesigned our labels to give a simple ‘Recycle’ or ‘Don’t Recycle’ message, summarising the evidence on what councils collect, what MRFs can sort, what gets re-processed and what gets turned into new packaging or products.

“It’s time for a single mandatory labelling system that consumers know they can rely on.”


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Source: Packaging