On this America Recycles Day, GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) celebrates America’s commitment to recycling by taking a look at How2Recycle Label milestones. Sustainability is a journey that relies on good design, accessible infrastructure, and consumer understanding of what, where, and how to recycle.
Sustainable Packaging Coalition member companies and staff identified a need for consistent on-package communication about recyclability of a package. Though consumers want to recycle, our studies found that many consumers are confused about what they can and cannot recycle, and desire clear recycling information on the package itself. The How2Recycle Label Program helps fix this problem by clearly communicating how and where certain materials should be recycled.
Packages donning the How2Recycle label first entered the market in December, 2011. Since then, How2Recycle has grown from 11 founding participants to 20 with more to be announced soon. Press releases and website updates in the coming weeks will unveil the exciting new participants that will move with How2Recycle into its third year. SPC staff estimate at least 600 different products with How2Recycle Labels will be on shelf by the end of the year.
SPC staff continue to build relationships with partner organizations and consumers to expand the program. This includes collaborative projects with the Flexible Films Recycling Group of the American Chemistry Council, ongoing interactions with government agencies, participation in critical industry conversations, and responding to feedback from consumers.
Through a How2Recycle survey, consumer testing, and social media feedback, the public has expressed their overwhelming support of the program and its participating companies. For example, when referring to how the label made them feel about the company using it, one respondent said, “The company is obviously trying to reduce their carbon footprint and I think that is awesome and commendable.” Another noted, “It shows me the company is taking an active interest in recycling for the future of sustainability and the environment.”
About 75% of survey respondents had a positive experience with the label and about 80% thought more positively of companies if they used How2Recycle. 85% of survey respondents found How2Recycle easy to understand, a critical goal of the program. According to one respondent, “More products should do this!! It takes away the guessing game out of recycling.” Another respondent showed the educational benefit of the label, “I didn’t know that in-store plastic bag drop-offs also accept other types of plastic package film, so now I will start recycling those.”
How2Recycle’s success would not be possible without the pioneering participating companies. Their commitment to clear and concise on-package recycling labels make them leaders in their industry. Melissa Craig of Kellogg’s notes: “Consumers need clear, concise communication when it comes to recycling, so materials that can be reclaimed don’t accidentally end up in landfills. This label helps ensure all packaging components are recycled as intended, to further reduce the environmental impact of our products and promote conservation.”
GreenBlue and the SPC look forward to another successful year helping consumers and companies fulfill their America Recycles Day pledges through the How2Recycle Label Program. Our goal is to have How2Recycle Labels on the majority of consumer-facing packaging by 2016.