Approximately one third of all waste in the United States comes from packaging. Only 30% of that is recycled. To address these concerns, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) recently completed their annual study of the availability of recycling programs across the nation. It offers manufacturers a look at which packaging materials are being recycled and which are ending up in a landfill. They found that curbside recycling programs are available to 73% of the U.S. population, but only one-third elect to participate.
To help consumers in their recycling efforts and increase the availability and quality of recycled materials, the How2Recycle provides a labeling system that follows Federal Trade Commission Green Guides.
How2Recycle Label for Sustainable Packaging
The next generation recycling label, “How2Recycle,” is a U.S. based standardized system designed to clearly communicate recycling instructions to the public.
The labels are applied to consumer product packaging to inform the public how to recycle accurately. They also tell you where to go if they need to find information specific to their municipality. The SPC created How2Recycle in 2012 in effort to standardize recycling labeling. Also to alleviate issues surrounding valuable recyclables that are still ending up in the landfill.
How2Recycle labels have four categories:
- Widely Recycled
- Check Locally
- Not Yet Recycled
- Store Drop-Off
Packaging type is identified at the bottom of the label and additional recycling instructions are added as a tab on top of the label as needed.
Sustainable Packaging Practices We Can Learn from Disney and Walmart
The program has more than 55 members. Yet it is getting quite a bit of attention lately because of a few big-name corporations such as Disney, Whirlpool, Gerber and Walmart. Designed using The Walt Disney Co.’s SmartPackaging Initiative, the Moana Classic Doll package contains 70% recycled content. It uses PED for the window, doesn’t use adhesives and is printed with vegetable-based ink.
In addition, Walmart recently updated their sustainable packaging priorities in their quest toward a zero-waste goal. They continue to make efforts to optimize designs, source sustainability and support recycling while keeping product prices low and helping consumers understand how to recycle. Walmart encourages suppliers to optimize their designs by finding ways to reduce unnecessary packaging materials such as extra boxes, ties or layers, while still protecting the product. Zach Freeze, director of strategic initiatives for sustainability at Walmart says, “Don’t over pack. Don’t under pack. Get it right.”
By joining How2Recycle, suppliers can use the program’s on-package recycling label to communicate to consumers how to recycle various types of packaging.
Sustainable Packaging with Hughes
With so many kinds of materials on the market today, learning how to responsibly dispose of product packaging can be confusing for some consumers. But incorporating a sustainable packaging label can help clarify and change behaviors toward sustainability.
Want to learn more about sustainable packaging for business? Let our experts help you through the process of making your facility more sustainable; call us at 1-267-409-6100 today.