Ten years of OPRL

Founded in 2009 by a group of retailers and brands, the On-Pack Recycling Label celebrates a decade of recycling advice, as public readiness for radical action reaches tipping point.

Originally set up by British Retail Consortium and Food & Drink Federation members working with WRAP, the label quickly established itself as a recognised marque with consumers, as supermarkets, high street retailers and leading brands applied it to packaging.

Karen Graley, founding director and packaging & reprographics manager at Waitrose, said: “That early, relatively small collaboration of a few dozen retailers and brands was an important step in providing consistent, clear and simple recycling advice to consumers. Ten years and over 300 additional members later, we have gained recognition with 3 in 4 people now acting on our labels, making us the most widely recognised and understood recycling label in the UK.”

Jane Bevis, founding director and chair of OPRL added: “Our recent survey shows more than 4 in 5 people check packaging often or periodically for advice on recycling, even when they’re pretty confident about what to recycle – they expect to see our labels there. Over the last 6 years we’ve consistently scored as the best understood and acted on recycling labelling system. We’re the industry standard. No wonder brands, retailers, packaging designers and manufacturers, supply chain partners and compliance schemes are flocking to join OPRL.”

Speaking about the many developments in services offered and OPRL’s depth of involvement in industry initiatives, Stuart Lendrum, founding director and executive director of OPRL said: “We started with a pretty basic website and a pdf of our Labelling Guidelines back in 2009, supported by WRAP, the BRC and FDF.

“Now we have an increasingly sophisticated online offer, with tools for members such as PREP UK which aids designing for recyclability, to our labelling tool drawing on an extensive artwork library, and our supply chain supporters showcase to help members find wider solutions – from packaging designers and manufacturers to compliance schemes, data services and technical consultancies. On completion of the pilot of our consumer recycling app as part of the #LeedsByExample project we’ll be adding that as a full optional service to members.

“Combined with support from our guarantors ACE UK, CPI, INCPEN, LARAC and RECOUP, these developments have helped us become the industry standard sought out by businesses of all sizes, and from all sectors in the packaging world.”

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