Consumers want clarity in plastic recycling, but they are often stymied by program variations, unclear labeling, and inconsistent recyclability claims.
Striving to clear up the confusion is the How2Recycle label program, now growing with the addition of three new participants. These new members – Reynolds Consumer Products, Kimberly-Clark, and Hilex Poly Co. – are placing the How2Recycle label on selected plastic packaging, including plastic bags, wraps, and films.
The How2Recycle label simplifies recycling for consumers, with easy identification of packaging recyclability, and instructions for recycling via such options as in-store drop-off. The more companies that join, the more that consumers will get the message. How2Recycle’s three new members all found that the label suits their packaging, and the program fits their sustainability platforms:
- Reynolds will print the label primarily on its Hefty brand slider bags and their paper-box packages. The plastic bag labels will alert consumers that many retailers can accept clean, dry food storage bags for recycling. Reynolds was motivated to join by a desire to help eliminate confusion over how and where everyday products and their packaging can be recycled, said Sean Foster, vice president of innovation.
- Kimberly-Clark will initially add the label to its Scotts Naturals Tube-Free bath tissue flexible film packaging, followed by other Scotts Naturals packaging and Kimberly-Clark products. Lisa Morden, senior director of sustainability, said the How2Recycle label fits with Kimberly-Clark’s lifecycle thinking, from responsible sourcing of raw materials to building the capacities of consumers to recycle.
- Hilex Poly, the nation’s largest plastic bag manufacturer, will use How2Recycle’s store drop-off label on a variety of its flexible plastic packaging, including its well-known “Thank You” plastic bag. Hilex Poly’s retail collector program, Bag-2-Bag, recycled 35 million pounds of post-consumer plastic bags, sacks, and wraps in 2013, and How2Recycle participation dovetails with the company’s “utmost priority” of promoting recycling, said Phil Rozenski, director of marketing and sustainability.
How2Recycle, launched by GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition in 2012, has grown considerably toward its goal of putting the How2Recycle label on the majority of consumer goods by 2016. Big names on board include McDonald’s USA, ConAgra, REI, Kellogg’s, Estee Lauder, and General Mills, and it’s not just brands that are joining. In February 2014, Wegman’s became How2Recycle’s first grocery retailer, putting the How2Recycle label and a “Return to Sender” message on all plastic grocery and produce bags.
Every company has different reasons to join How2Recycle, but at heart, all share the goal of empowering consumers to recycle. We’re always glad to help new partners fit How2Recycle participation into their sustainability goals. Visit How2Recycle to join, or contact me, and I’ll be happy to help.