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    BJ’s Among Latest to Adopt How2Recycle Label

    Program aims to reduce consumer confusion

    This summer, BJ’s Wholesale Club, as well as such grocery industry stalwarts as General MillsYoplait yogurt brand, Cryovac’s Sealed Air division and flexible-packaging manufacturer manufacturer Ampac, have joined other members of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) -- including ConAgra Foods, Costco and Seventh Generation -- in debuting the How2Recycle Label, a voluntary recycling label created by GreenBlue, a nonprofit organization that equips business with the science and resources to make products more sustainable, and its SPC project.

    The goal of the label is to reduce consumer confusion about recycling through a clear, consistent symbol and informational website. The label gives companies an easy way to conform to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) “Green Guides” while using nationwide recyclability data.

    “Consumers are faced with a confusing landscape of material and recycling messages that are often inconsistent or misleading,” explained Anne Bedarf, senior manager of Charlottesville, Va.-based GreenBlue, who has led development of the label for the SPC. “We believe this label will help consumers and companies more effectively communicate recyclability and contribute to more successful resource recovery.”

    Modeled after the successful On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) system in the United Kingdom, the How2Recycle Label came into being following more than three years of research, stakeholder engagement, extensive consumer testing, and a national effort to garner updated recyclability data in collaboration with industry partners.

    Using the new system, companies can customize package labels by employing as many as four available options (with associated icons): Widely Recycled, Limited Recycling/“Check Locally,” Not Yet Recycled, and a “Store Drop-off” label for bags, wraps and other films accepted at retail locations. Each unique component of a package will be noted on the label. For instance, Sealed Air’s Fill-Air Inflatable packaging and Ampac’s No. 2 Pouch will be the first to use the “Store Drop-off” label, while Yoplait’s fridge pack will use a combination of icons.

    The label has already reached grocery shelves in the form of Seventh Generation’s limited-edition 180-ounce detergent bottle and 22-ounce pre-wash spray available at Target, and will soon roll out on products such as ConAgra’s Orville Redenbacher popcorn and a variety of Kirkland Signature brand products from Costco Wholesale.

    So far, the label has been endorsed by several state and local governments, including the state of North Carolina, New York City’s Department of Sanitation, and Stopwaste.org, which serves California’s Alameda County. Stamford, Conn.-based Keep America Beautiful, a national nonprofit working to increase recycling, also recently granted its endorsement.

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