For the first time, UK shoppers can easily recycle thin plastic packaging such as bread bags and cereal liners thanks to an agreement between the country's biggest supermarkets and the On Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) scheme, used by more than 100 companies on over 60,000 product lines.
From now on, stores which collect plastic bags for recycling will accept clean plastic film packaging in the same facilities, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) announced. A new version of the on-pack label will appear on relevant packaging to encourage customers to dispose of it in this way. Such carrier bag banks can be found at more than 4,500 supermarkets.
It is important to note that the thin plastic makes up 43% of all plastic household packaging and weighs in at 645,000 tonnes every year. By comparison, plastic bottles account for 32% or 480,000 tonnes. While thin plastic film is fully recyclable, until now most people have had no means of recycling it.
Retailers recognise in-store collection of thin plastics is an efficient way in which they can contribute further to recycling efforts. They expect to see council sites and kerb-side collections handle the majority of packaging and other waste, such as electrical goods, which is not appropriate for return in store.
The retailers supporting the scheme are: Asda, The Co-operative Group, WM Morrison, J Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose. The products involved include: plastic-wrapped bakery goods, breakfast cereal liners, packaging for household goods (toilet roll wrap, kitchen roll wrap) plastic-wrapped grocery produce (fresh and frozen), multipack shrink wrap.
For more information visit BRC and OPRL.