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New Environment Secretary, Theresa Villiers, has said that said the current recycling labelling system, involving dozens of symbols, is confusing and holding back the recycling rate, a point of view that’s hard to disagree with.

Further her Department has stated its aim "to make producers label their packaging as ‘recyclable’ or ‘not recyclable’ so households can know more clearly what they can recycle”.

Clearly Government has finally understood that it’s just not enough for a material to be recyclable in theory, it has also to be recycled in practice.

A good starting point might be to take stock of the ‘Metal Recycles Forever’ symbol. 

This has been adopted right across Europe’s metal packaging sector where companies have coalesced around a single, straightforward message that leaves consumers in no doubt of the material’s recycling credentials.

True, we are fortunate in that metal can be infinitely recycled, and it is easy to separate from the waste stream using magnets or, in the case of aluminium, eddy currents; but it does also satisfy the Advertising Standards Authority code of being legal, decent, honest and truthful.

Sadly, the same cannot currently be said of all recycling symbols and as such the review is to be welcomed.

Robert Fell
Director & Chief Executive
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