New research from Nestlé reveals that labelling confusion is getting Australians bins in a mess, and the food and beverage giant is calling for more companies to adopt the Australasian Recycling Label to keep recycling streams clean and maximise resource recovery.
A staggering number of Australians (88%) are still disposing of packaging from everyday household items in the wrong bin, despite a high level of confidence (95%) that they are correctly recycling their household waste. This is according to findings from a new study by Nestlé, which reveals that on-pack labelling is part of the problem.
Nestlé's research 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.
Nestlé Oceania head of Corporate Affairs & Sustainability Margaret Stuart said, “We know Aussies care about the environment and want to do the right thing – 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.
“There is only one labelling scheme that makes it clear – and that’s the Australasian Recycling Label,” she said.
“More than 600 companies have adopted the Australasian Recycling Label but we’re 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.”
Recycler iQ Renew CEO Danial Gallagher said they see the results of Aussies’ over-confidence and the confusion that inconsistent labels can cause when the contents of recycling bins arrive at their sorting facility.
“We see so many things come through that simply shouldn’t be there. Recycling right is so important for the environment, and keeping our recycling streams clean helps us make the most of that opportunity.”
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
Nestlé is committed to making 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025 and is rolling out the ARL on all of its locally manufactured products to help consumers know how to recycle right.