The Recycling Partnership (The Partnership) is launching Recycle Check, a package-specific labeling platform providing up-to-date recycling information directly to U.S. consumers. The dynamic platform offers the ability to enter a zip code or allow location permissions and receive a clear, yes-no answer about whether to recycle a specific item where you are – in seconds. It also enables consumer brands to navigate the complex recycling landscape, reduce label changes, and leverage existing labeling systems.
The fragmented U.S. recycling system creates high variability in what is collected and recycled locally. “Eight in ten people believe in recycling’s positive impact, yet two-thirds of household recyclables are wasted each year. Confusion about what and how to recycle is a key driver of this loss,” explains Sarah Dearman, Chief Innovation Officer at The Partnership. “Meanwhile, new state-level packaging policies are changing requirements for recyclability claims.”
Recycle Check is powered by The Partnership’s National Recycling Database, a state-of-the-art resource that centralizes up-to-date recycling access data from more than 9,000 U.S. community programs, covering 97% of the U.S. population. By connecting local information with brand and package-specific details, Recycle Check allows for a new level of dynamic communications that evolve with the changing landscape via a digital link, either on a company website, application, or as a QR code on a physical packaging label.
Recycle Check is also designed to complement existing labeling systems. The Partnership and GreenBlue are collaborating with early adopters to pilot use of the How2Recycle® label and the Recycle Check QR code together on product packaging. The Partnership is also working closely with the Consumer Brands Association to offer Recycle Check through its SmartLabel program, widely used by brands on thousands of products.
“The Recycling Partnership is the recognized leader in the recycling database space, and Recycle Check is an elegant solution for GreenBlue’s How2Recycle® and The Partnership to collaborate simply and with greater connectivity,” says Paul Nowak, Executive Director of GreenBlue. “By connecting consumers to local data and leveraging the country’s most recognized on-pack recycling instructions, we are truly creating an inclusive, best of both worlds solution that demonstrates collaboration at scale is possible.”
General Mills and Horizon Organic are leading the charge as early adopters of Recycle Check, using dynamic labels to provide local recycling information on-pack. Later this year, General Mills will feature Recycle Check with the How2Recycle® label on its Pillsbury Frozen Pie Crust packaging, allowing consumers to check local recycling availability for all package components by scanning a single link. Because aluminum pie trays are only accepted in approximately 40 percent of residential curbside collection programs, the QR code label provides clarity on where the item is accepted for recycling.
Through package design, on-pack labeling and additional efforts, General Mills is continuously working to educate consumers and make recycling easier for them,” said Patrick Keenan, Packaging Sustainability Research and Development, General Mills. “We are excited to leverage this technology to localize the consumer experience and see this as a collaborative step to making the recycling system more efficient.”
Horizon Organic is also leading the industry in dynamic recycling communications by including Recycle Check alongside the How2Recycle® label on select Horizon Organic Milk Cartons. In doing so, Horizon Organic encourages consumers to determine local access to carton recycling, which is growing across the country. “As a brand that looks towards a better future for all, we are excited to be part of Recycle Check,” said Tyler Holm, General Manager for Horizon Organic. “By providing easy access and education on local recycling options for our milk cartons, we are hopeful that even more consumers will support the movement to recycle and join us in helping to protect the one horizon we all share.”
Recycle Check is a platform for all residential recyclables – paper, plastics, metals, and glass. Because of its ability to deliver up-to-date, community-specific information, it is an especially helpful solution for packages that are accepted in some but not all curbside programs across the U.S.
To learn more about Recycle Check and consider this platform for your brand’s products, visit recyclingpartnership.org/recyclecheck. For more information about the How2Recycle® and SmartLabel programs, visit how2recycle.info and smartlabel.org.
At The Recycling Partnership, we are solving for circularity. As a mission-driven NGO, we are committed to advancing a circular economy by building a better recycling system. We mobilize people, data, and solutions across the value chain to reduce waste and our impact on the environment while also unlocking economic benefits. We work on the ground with thousands of communities to transform underperforming recycling programs; we partner with companies to achieve packaging circularity, increase access to recycled materials, and meet sustainability commitments; and we work with government to develop policy solutions to address the systemic needs of our residential recycling system and advance a circular economy. We foster public-private partnerships and drive positive change at every step of the recycling and circularity process. Since 2014, we have diverted 770 million pounds of new recyclables from landfills, avoided more than 670,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases, and driven significant reductions in targeted contamination rates. Learn more at recyclingpartnership.org.