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Retailers wrap up recycling agreement

Some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets have signed up to an agreement with the On Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) scheme to make it easier for shoppers to recycle thin plastic packaging.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Retailers wrap up recycling agreement

Some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets have signed up to an agreement with the On Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) scheme to make it easier for shoppers to recycle thin plastic packaging.

The British Retail Consortium announced today that stores which collect plastic bags for recycling will now accept clean plastic film packaging in their carrier bag banks which can be found in more than 4,500 supermarkets around the UK.  All relevant packaging will carry a new version of the on-pack label to encourage customers to dispose of it in this way.

The thin plastic is used for 43% of all plastic household packaging and wrapping , and amounts to 645,000 tonnes every year. By comparison, plastic bottles account for 32% – 480,000 tonnes. Thin plastic film is fully recyclable but until now most people have had no means of recycling it.

Retailers recognise in-store collection of thin plastics is an additional way in which they can contribute to the UK’s recycling efforts.

Head of environment at the British Retail Consortium and director of On-Pack Recycling Label Ltd, Bob Gordon, said: "This announcement shows retailers are prepared to go above and beyond what is expected of them to support customers' environmental efforts. We know many consumers want to do their bit for the planet and this move will be a big help.”

He added, "Retailers are leading the way in helping customers minimise waste through measures such as reducing the weight of packaging and providing consistent on-pack information. The retail sector has helped to prevent 1.2 million tonnes of food and packaging waste since 2005."

Defra Minister Lord Henley said: "This is a great move by retailers and exactly the type of initiative that is needed to help people recycle more. People who want to do the right thing and recycle bread packaging and other plastic film can now do so easily and hassle free as they go in to do their shopping."

The retailers supporting the scheme are: Asda, The Co-operative Group, WM Morrison, J Sainsbury's, Tesco, and Waitrose.

The  OPRL symbol was launched two years ago by the British Retail Consortium and is supported by WRAP, the Government delivery body on waste. It is used by more than 100 companies on over 60,000 product lines.

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