Recycling Instructions on Your Packaging – Clear or Confusing?


Recycling boxes

Clear Recycling Instructions

A recent survey carried out by Future Thinking on behalf of UK based company, Serco Environmental Services found that 38% of the 12,000 people surveyed didn’t recycle because the instructions for recycling (either on the packaging or from their local authorities) was confusing. The people surveyed were members of the general public in the UK. The findings have been published to coincide with the UK’s National Recycle Week.

The report lists other reasons why people fail to recycle, such as the need for collections to occur more often (8%), the need for a monetary incentive to recycle(5%), the fact that they didn’t have the necessary recycling bags or bins (5%), some people didn’t believe that the waste was being recycled (4%), and 3% said they weren’t bothered!
The report discusses the cost to the local authorities of this unrecycled waste. In response Secro is urging the waste industry to work with all sectors who have a role to play in the recycling process to work together. These players include local authorities, retailers and consumer goods manufacturers to work together to maximise recycling by developing a simpler recycling labelling system for food and product packaging. The aim of this simpler system would be to make the recycling instructions easy to understand for consumers of all ages.

Consumers want to recycle their packaging.

As the level of environmental awareness grows among the general public, so does their desire to recycle their packaging correctly. The associate director of Future Thinking, Clare Tyrell-Williams said “It’s encouraging to see that people are evidently sold on the recycling message and are keen to do their bit. However, the research also demonstrates that people are aware that they could recycle more and are conscious of how confusing recycling information can be. Clearly there’s a disconnect between how much we want to recycle and how much we do recycle.”

Therefore, the clarity of recycling information on your packaging can be considered another factor that may help your product stand out and be chosen on the retail shelves.


When designing your packaging, give clear instructions on how your packaging can be recycled. If your packaging in made entirely of cartonboard, then recycling instructions can be very simple as cartonboard is one of the most easily recycled packaging materials in Ireland. At Dollard Packaging, we can provide you with information on what your cartonboard is made from. We are FSC( Forest Stewardship Council) approved so all of our cartonboard comes from a sustainable source.
If your packaging uses mixed materials, such as carton board and plastic, we can provide you with the necessary information on how these materials can be recycled.
When you are designing new packaging, allow enough space in the package design to have the recycling instructions in clear, legible font.
If you need any help with this aspect of your packaging, please contact Dollard Packaging Tel 01 847 0044

Read the full article on the Packaging News website here