OPRL New Labelling Rules

Labelling Rules now available

OPRL Labels are now moving towards a binary approach with Recycle or Don’t Recycle labels applying wherever possible. We’ve adopted an ISO14021 compliant approach, taking into account the whole recycling process from council and in-store collections to sorting at MRFs, the likelihood of reprocessing and the availability of end markets.

The new labels have been tested extensively with consumers so that the designs are most likely to engage them effectively in recycling.  We need to kick start an increase in recycling rates if the UK is to meet its targets on recycling and climate change, and if Plastics Pact members are to meet their commitments.

Applying the new Rules and understanding which materials are changing recyclability status under the new assessment framework will help members prepare for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) reforms and could minimise their financial liabilities under the new statutory regime.

The main changes in recyclability designations are:

  • PVC and PS are now classified as unrecyclable
  • cPET and coloured aPET/rPET are now classified as recyclable
  • Near Infra-Red (NIR) detectability is critical for plastics – non-detectable polymers are now classified unrecyclable
  • Tolerance levels for barrier coatings on card reduce to 15 percent now and to 10 percent from January 2023
  • Coffee cups now have a Specialist label

Details of the Review’s methodology and evidential sources by publishing its document ‘On-Pack Recycling Labelling rules 2019:  Evidence Base’ which can be found here:

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