UK not-for-profit company On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) has launched a review of its labelling rules to bring them in line with its progress in collection services and to start to take account of recycling infrastructure.

The labelling rules review is governed by a steering group comprised of a wide selection of recycling industry experts from OPRL, WRAP, Nestle and Co-op, BPF, RECOUP, ACE UK, Suez, CIWM, Ecosurety, LARAC and CPI. The group aims to recommend any changes to the OPRL board by October this year to ensure new rules to be launched before the end of the year. After the initial review, the rules will be revised and challenged by industry, academia and NGOs experts.

OPRL said that the revised rules will take account of sortation processes at materials recovery facilities and the likelihood of reprocessing into recyclate for use in packaging or other products.

OPRL director and chair of the review steering group Stuart Lendrum said: “As the only evidence-based recycling label in the UK it’s essential to us that we have the right expertise and access to data on the steering group. I’m delighted and very grateful that this impressive array of industry figures has agreed to give us their support in undertaking this review. It will ensure a robust and credible process that both members and stakeholders can take assurance from.

“This review will not only ensure our labels reflect the whole recycling process for the first time, going beyond collections to sortation and reprocessing, it will also take us towards a binary labelling system, as envisaged in the recent UK Governments’ joint consultation.

“Since we’re undertaking this ahead of consistent collections or additional infrastructure investment occurs, there may be areas where the Steering Group feel it is too early yet to make that decision, but that’s our aspiration. And to support that move, OPRL has commissioned consumer insight research on the most effective calls to action for our labels in future.”

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OPRL chair Jane Bevis said: “The public is demanding more information on recyclability and wants to be assured of its accuracy, 84% check packaging for recycling advice. As the UK’s most trusted and widely recognised recycling label we’re determined to get this right, so we’re investing in research, getting the right people around the table and have engaged Richard Parker as our programmes manager to ensure we run a robust process.

“The extensive discussions already undertaken in the UK Plastics Pact’s fora and by the CPI/WRAP group on paper and board recyclability gives us a substantial body of work and wide cross-sector consensus to draw on. This work will also inform our world-leading recyclability evaluation tool update, PREP, offering ISO14021-compliant assessments for self-evaluated claims.”

Earlier this year, OPRL and WRAP partnered to provide consistent messaging on-pack to reduce confusion about products that can and cannot be recycled and UK-based packaging research organisation INCPEN joined the OPRL scheme to promote packaging recycling.