May 31, 2012
BJ’s Wholesale Club -- along with Yoplait, Esteé Lauder, Sealed Air and Ampac -- have agreed to join several members of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition to introduce the How2Recycle Label, a voluntary recycling label developed by the nonprofit GreenBlue and its Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC).
Other SPC members already on board include retailers Costco Wholesale, Target and REI, as well as manufacturers such as ConAgra Foods and Seventh Generation, and software maker Microsoft.
The goal of the How2Recycle Label is to reduce consumer confusion in the U.S. with a clear and consistent recycling label and corresponding informational website. It provides companies with an easy way to conform to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) “Green Guides” while using nationwide recyclability data.
“Consumers are faced with a confusing landscape of material and recycling messages that are often inconsistent or misleading,” said GreenBlue Senior Manager Anne Bedarf, who led development of the label for the SPC. “We believe this label will help consumers and companies more effectively communicate recyclability and contribute to more successful resource recovery.”
The How2Recycle Label is based on the successful On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) system in the United Kingdom and was developed through more than three years of research, stakeholder engagement, consumer testing, and a national effort to collect updated recyclability data in conjunction with industry partners.
With this new system, companies can customize package labels by utilizing up to four available options (with associated icons) including: Widely Recycled, Limited Recycling/”Check Locally,” Not Yet Recycled, and a “Store Drop-off” label for bags, wraps and other films accepted at retail locations.
Each unique component of a package will be labeled. Sealed Air’s Fill-Air Inflatable packaging and Ampac’s No. 2 Pouch will be the first to use the “Store Drop-off” label. General Mills’ Yoplait yogurt brand on its fridge pack and Esteé Lauder Companies’ Aveda Brand on its Outer Peace Acne Pads will use a combination of icons.
The label is already available in the marketplace on Seventh Generation’s limited edition 180-ounce detergent bottle and new 22-ounce pre-wash spray available at Target stores, in addition to more than 50 REI products including Novara bike accessories and Multi-towels. It soon will appear on such products as ConAgra’s Orville Redenbacher popcorn, Microsoft accessories, and a variety of Kirkland Signature brand products from Costco Wholesale.
The How2Recycle Label is endorsed by several state and local governments focused on addressing recycling challenges, including the state of North Carolina, New York City’s Department of Sanitation, and Stopwaste.org which serves Alameda County, Calif. Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s premier nonprofit working to increasing recycling, also recently endorsed the label.
The How2Recycle website (www.how2recycle.info) provides information for consumers on the label design, how to check local recycling options, and information for governments and companies interested in adopting or endorsing the label.
The introductory launch will continue through early 2013.
GRD Views: While I’m generally reluctant to endorse specific industry programs, I hope the collective industry gets behind How2Recycle. Consumers will benefit from a consistent language across product categories and the confusion associated with competing approaches will be avoided. Most important, the industry can really move the needle on consumer recycling with the adoption of a common industry approach. If you have any questions about How2Recycle, I suggest you contact the Sustainable Packaging Coalition directly.-- John Failla for Green Retail Decisions