Friday, January 21, 2022

Labelling confusion gets Aussies’ bins in a mess

New research from Nestlé shows that while many people (86%) are taking the time to look on pack for recycling instructions, inconsistent on-pack labels are contributing to confusion in our bins.

The research found 95% of Aussies are confident about recycling their household waste, but 88% end up putting everyday household items in the wrong bin.

“We know Aussies care about the environment and want to do the right thing,” says Nestlé Oceania Head of Corporate Affairs & Sustainability Margaret Stuart.

“But when they’re standing at the bin they simply want to know ‘Can this be recycled’ and ‘What bin do I put this in’?”

There are lots of recycling labels on the market – such as ‘Recycle me’, ‘Remember to recycle’ and even the Mobius loop – but these don’t necessarily mean the packaging is recyclable or tell people how to recycle it, says Ms Stuart

“There is only one labelling scheme that makes it clear – and that’s the Australasian Recycling Label.”

More than 600 companies have adopted the Australasian Recycling Label and Nestlé is calling on more companies to do so.

“We must help people by providing clear, concise and consistent labelling to make sure that the right things get to our recycling centres and don’t end up in landfill,” , Ms Stuart says.

Common recycling mistakes

Household recycling mistakes highlighted by the study include:

  • 36% believe takeaway coffee cups can go in recycling bins – but most aren’t recyclable
  • 68% aren’t aware that aluminium foil can go into household recycling bins if pieces are scrunched together to the size of a golf ball
  • 39% don’t flatten cardboard before recycling it
  • 55% think used pizza boxes can be recycled – bits covered in grease or leftover food can’t be, but the clean parts can
  • 37% think the Mobius loop (chasing arrows) means something is recyclable

Recycling goals

Nestlé is committed to making 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025 and is rolling out the Australasian Recycling Label on all of its locally manufactured products to help consumers know how to recycle right.

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