In a recent study, 48% of Brits picked out the wrong symbol when asked to pick out one that signifies recyclable packaging, according to a new report from Which? magazine.
The majority of the survey’s respondents also pushed for more clarity, with 88% saying that packaging should always be clearly labelled with recycling information in supermarkets.
When shown The Green Dot (pictured below), respondents said that they believed it meant that the packaging was recyclable. It actually means that the manufacturer has paid into a scheme that supports recyclable packaging. It doesn’t necessarily mean the packaging is recyclable at all.
The wide range of different recycling or sustainability symbols found on packaging, and confusion by what these mean could be leading to us recycling our packaging completely wrong.
The survey also found a lot of support from people who wanted a more sustainable shopping experience, and an increase in the number of eco-friendly ways of disposing of packaging.
For instance, 86% of respondents thought that all supermarket product packaging should be recyclable, and 69% thought that reducing plastic pollution was a bigger problem than food waste.
“The endless list of symbols that the packaging industry produces can look more like hieroglyphics than instructions. Most of us aren’t Egyptologists and we just want to do the right thing,” Emma Priestland, plastic-free campaigner at Friends of the Earth, told HuffPost UK.
“Confusing labelling and packaging makes recycling harder than it should be and actively confounds the instinct of the vast majority of people, which is to recycle.”
“Which? wants the Government and manufacturers to act now to bring about clear, simple and consistent labelling and to make that compulsory to help consumers know what can be recycled and how to recycle it,” Nikki Stopford, director of research and publishing at Which?, said.