Vanden Recycling says major brands coming together to increase plastic recycling should be welcomed, but we need to have clearer labelling and better design

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One of the UK’s leading plastics recyclers has welcomed the UK Plastics Pact for getting major brands to commit to using more recycled content in their packaging.

But Vanden Recycling has also warned that there needs to be better labelling of packaging to ensure it can be properly recycled. Designers will also need to consider how to simplify their designs to ensure products can be easily recycled once used.

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Vanden Recycling UK managing director David Wilson said: “It’s great to see big brands getting on board with the UK Plastics Pact, working collaboratively and setting clear targets including an average of 30% recycled content in their packaging.

“This will help to stimulate and promote the market for recycled plastic content, and provides a commitment to ensure more investment can be made in UK recycling infrastructure.

“It is encouraging that a target has been set for 70% of plastic packaging to be recycled or composted, although we would advocate that compostable plastic packaging should be avoided to prevent contamination of the plastic recycling stream.

“But to meet this 70% target, we will need better labelling of what can and can’t be recycled. It could be a simple ‘yes it can be recycled’ or ‘no it can’t be recycled’ with ‘yes’ meaning that it can be recycled and collected by all local authorities for recycling. This will help to end confusion.

“It should also stimulate product designers to take more care and think more about the design process to make recycling at the end of a product’s life easier. We hope that they will start to reduce the type of packaging that is difficult to recycle.

“Designers will need to understand the negative impact of certain adhesive labels, complex hybrids of plastics and metalised films and avoid using these if these targets are to be met.”

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