Recycling Codes and Why They (Should) Matter to Your Print Agency

In 2020 the European Union set a target for countries to recycle at last 50% of household waste – but within the UK, Wales was the only country to hit the target, with 57% of household waste recycled in 2017. According to official statistics, the UK lags behind other European countries in recycling, with just 44% of municipal waste recycled each year. 

When it comes to plastic waste, the figures are even lower: 32% of plastic in the UK is recycled, despite 100% of local authorities collecting plastic bottles for recycling.

How Recycling Codes Impact Recycling Itself

One of the issues preventing the UK from reaching recycling goals is poor and improper use of recycling codes. Plastic items that have not been clearly identified with a recycling code will be sent to landfill or incineration – despite customers doing their part by asking for recyclable materials.

According to research by OPRL, the UK’s world-leading recycling not-for-profit, most recycling labels are poorly understood and many aren’t well recognised – and recycling codes are no different, with many packaging designers and printers misunderstanding the importance of a clearly visible recycling code. 

At Ebi we pride ourselves on offering a range of recyclable materials, including polypropylene – but we know that without clear recycling codes, recyclable packaging and products still run a high risk of ending their lives in a landfill. 

There are a variety of recycling codes, with the most commonly used at Ebi being PP5 (polypropylene, used for bottle caps, battery cases, microwavable food containers, DVD cases and more).

Ebi stays at the forefront of recyclable and reusable packaging and print by continuously investing in new ideas and development. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you with your next campaign.