Author: Alejandra Laclette
Most Australians are confused about the recyclability of at least one common packaging item. This confusion stems from unclear labelling, changes in recycling systems over time and differences between collection services. That confusion is about to disappear thanks to the Australasian Recycling Label, but what about the technology behind this new labelling system?
In September last year we celebrated the official launch of the Australasian Recycling Label, an evidence-based system that provides easy to understand instructions on how to correctly dispose of every part of your product's packaging. The labelling system aims to take the confusion out of recycling and is appearing on more and more products every day.
But the label itself is just one part of the story. First, we needed to ensure the information on any particular label is correct for the majority of Australians. That’s where the Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP), a tool that determines the recyclability of any particular piece packaging, comes in.
The PREP software simulates consumer packaging’s journey from the moment it is placed in kerbside recycling systems to the moment it is processed into new materials as well as if the packaging is recyclable through kerbside collections for the majority of the population. The tool provides immediate feedback to designers advising whether packaging is recyclable and, if not, why.
This is helping company’s around Australia and New Zealand to design for recyclability, where the ability to recycle a piece of packaging is considered from the very beginning of the design phase. In doing so it is hoped the PREP tool and the Australasian Recycling Label will ensure the recycling industry is receiving the cleanest possible material streams from municipal collections.
After managing the sustainability educational program at her corporate job in Mexico, Alejandra decided to move to Sydney and undertake a Master in Sustainable Development, while working as a Sustainability Consultant for a compostable packaging company. She's now Planet Ark's Recycling Label Program Manager.
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