Packaging disposal is one of the most confusing areas of the product lifecycle. With constantly shifting changes, regional variations, and conflicting information, many items that could be disposed of responsibly are left to rot in landfill. Here’s how to ensure that your consumers make the right choices.
What Do Consumers Know About Recycling?
We all know that we should recycle, but it’s not always easy. The latest figures suggest that in 2020, 67.2% of UK packaging was successfully recycled. However, this statistic includes commercial waste, with only around 40% of domestic properties ensuring that their packaging makes it to the recycling centre. According to research, this “throwaway culture” is largely due to a lack of awareness about what can and cannot be recycled, and to the unwillingness or inability of many local authorities to process some recyclable materials. As such, SMEs can inadvertently add to the plastic and pollution crisis by not labelling their products in a way that is user-friendly (or council-friendly).
Why Does Labelling Matter?
Despite creating a landfill of mistakes, studies repeatedly show that consumers do want to recycle. Most people state that they care about the environment, and this is a trend that has been significantly accelerated by a Millennial audience in tune with the concept of social responsibility. Consumers prefer products that are marketed and packaged with ecological sensitivity. However, to recycle successfully, consumers need clear labelling to direct them towards the correct disposal solution.
What Is The Ideal Labelling Solution?
The official advice from the Department for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) is that all labels should be removed prior to recycling. Labels often include adhesives with polymers that can contaminate the recycling process, as well as inks that may release harmful chemicals when broken down. The reality is that the majority of consumers either do not know this or are too tired or busy to remember. Therefore, the ideal option is to integrate the instructions into the packaging. If a label is required, ask your supplier for paper labels with water-soluble adhesive.
What Should Be On The Label?
The recycling symbol is universally known. However, many types of packaging involve multiple materials that may need to be recycled in different ways, so it is a good idea to add extra instructions so that the consumer knows exactly what to do. These should be presented in clear, direct language that eliminates the guesswork that consumers are often experiencing. If you want your packaging to be rinsed before recycling, as is the required case for food, beverage, and beauty products, make sure this is clearly stated on the box. If your packaging is recycled by some Local Authorities but not by others, add a “check locally” reminder.
How Can Kudos Giftwrap Help?
At Kudos Giftwrap, we can advise you on the best labelling strategy for your packaging product. Our designers will work creatively to integrate disposal instructions into a seamless and stylish piece of art that empowers your customers to make the right choices. For more information, please get in touch.
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