Recyclability is a concern for both, so how do we make sure consumers understand the issue?

We’ve talked about the problems involved in recycling those thin plastic shopping bags on the blog before. While they are technically “recyclable,” you can’t put them in your curbside recycle bins because municipal recycling facilities usually can’t accommodate that thin film. To recycle them, you have to bring them to approved drop-off locations.

So … is it wrong to call them “recyclable”?

An article on Plastics News recently took a look at that. They said that the plastics industry seemed to be taken by surprise when California Attorney General Rob Bonta asked them to prove they aren’t being misleading when they call those plastic bags recyclable. It’s California’s position that, by labeling those bags as “recyclable,” consumers are being deceived into thinking they can include them with their regular curbside recyclables.

It’s a sticky situation, for sure. And the article makes a good point—this issue with the recyclability of plastic bags can also apply to flexible packaging. Most flexible packaging can be recycled, but not as part of the general consumer paper/plastic/glass stream. Flexible packaging is often made of different types of material in layers, and that means those packages need to be taken to specific drop-offs or sent to proper facilities, not put in curbside bins.

The legal challenge in California has led to some suggested changes in labeling. The state asked bag makers to remove recycling symbols altogether so as not to suggest they could go in the bins, but the bag manufacturers say the labeling (with its How2Recycle logo) is there to inform the public, not mislead them.

Read the full article on Plastics News.

Everything that’s happening with plastic bags is likely to happen with flexible packaging, too. Most flexible packaging carries the How2Recycle logo, but environmental groups are challenging that labeling as being misleading. If the labeling suggests that the material can be put in regular recycling receptacles, the case can be made that consumers are being deceived.

At AMGRAPH, we believe in truthful sustainable solutions. Flexible packaging technology is constantly advancing, and the day might come that flexible packaging will be fully recyclable in the consumer stream. Until that day, though, we’re committed to both sustainable products and consumer education—so everyone can understand exactly what they can do to help keep material out of landfills. If you have questions about clear, honest recycling, give us a call and let us help!