New ‘refill’ labels launched

New labels to help consumers understand where and how packaging can be refilled are being rolled out by OPRL.

There are three labels covering the principal refill systems: using lightweight-packaged refills at home; bulk refill facilities in store; and return systems where the brand or retailer takes back packaging for cleaning and refilling.

The designs, which have been tested with 5,000 consumers, “make clear which refill system applies and where and how the packaging should be refilled”, OPRL said.

The UK government is looking to introduce reuse/refill packaging targets by 2025 as part of its new extended producer responsibility scheme. In January, Wrap also consulted members of its Plastic Pact on a reuse/refill target.

OPRL defines refillable packaging as that “designed for reuse for its original purpose a minimum of 10 times and where the relevant refill system is available to 75% or more of the UK population, guaranteed for a minimum three years”. This ensures there are “real environmental gains through reuse”, said OPRL executive director Margaret Bates.

The packaging will also need to carry the OPRL recycling labels so consumers know how to dispose of it once it can no longer be reused.

Libby Peake, head of resource policy at Green Alliance, a think tank, welcomed the new labels. She said refillables have a major role to play but can only deliver the environmental benefits they promise if they are used as intended.

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