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Pre-cycling requires a collaborative effort

We can recycle more if your colleagues and clients are able to recognize the common symbols for recycling. The confusion over symbols on packaging can cause contamination and lead to the waste of items that could be recycled into new products. It leads to the production of more virgin materials, which is harmful to the environment. will save you more if you share this information with those who can help.

This guide explains the On-Pack Recyclable Labels (OPRLs) that you are likely to find on packaging in your business. Some labels have subtle differences. We fully support the UK government’s commitment to simplifying labeling.

Some symbols do not indicate that an item can be recycled. Others may have no recycling label, but they are still recyclable. Share this information with colleagues and customers in order to increase awareness about sustainability symbols. This will help you reduce your carbon footprint. We can all make a difference if we take the time to read labels.

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Pre-cycling and the workplace: Three important things to consider

Pre-cycling appears simple on the surface. You grab a container and check its label. Then, make sure that it is empty. Drop it in the correct bin. It’s not that easy in reality. We can use a routine that we developed at home to do things at our own pace and in our own environment. It is much more difficult to do this at work or public events.

It is a reflex to dispose of waste. It’s not something we think about much; it is a reflex. To do pre-cycling correctly, you need to make a number of small decisions. Empty the container, remove any residue and non-recyclable packaging parts. This requires conscious consideration. It creates a greater level of complexity and risk.

It is OK to have a little more complexity in our homes. The decision-making process is more difficult when concentrating on work or public tasks. You can do things in your business that will allow people to make more informed decisions when managing waste sustainably and participating in the circular economic system.

Three key messages to share to encourage pre-cycling within your business

  1. Pre-cycling helps recycling

Pre-cycling has become essential. Pre-cycling improves material quality, which makes recycling more efficient. It means that less waste is produced and fewer resources are needed to process the recycling. This allows us to create newer, higher-quality products. This can lead to reduced carbon emissions, a great way to fight climate change.

Pre-cycling not only helps with recycling but can also help you save money. Pre-cycling is when you separate waste into different categories. If a company puts food waste in the General Waste bin, they can save money by adding a collection service for food waste to their waste management. It can also reduce the cost of containers by reducing their weight. This reduces the amount of food waste sent to landfills, contributing to climate change.

Pre-cycle in four simple steps

Look for symbols on the packaging

Separate: remove non-recyclable materials.

Cleaning: Rinse or wipe away residue

Drop the container into the correct recycling bin.

  1. There is value in waste.

It is often not appreciated how valuable waste is. One empty HDPE milk bottle may be worth little, but when combined with the other milk bottles that are part of the closed-loop system, they have value for everyone. It is a valuable commodity, protects the environment and our bodies, and reduces pollution.

You create value every time you precycle an item in your business recycling. The challenges we face collectively go beyond the balance sheet. It makes a huge difference to help your colleagues and clients understand pre-cycling and how they can participate. Separating clean waste and packaging is a great way to benefit your community.

Experts are on hand to fight contamination.

  1. Everyone has a role to play.

People need space, time, and the correct information to make informed decisions. You can physically group bins, provide clear signage and bin stickers, and audit the materials to monitor the recyclables’ accuracy. It can help identify common errors that can be corrected with support and more information about business recycling.

You need to include everyone to cultivate a culture of pre-cycling. Post helpful materials online or in communal areas, designate a time every week that everyone can participate, dedicate a pre-cycling champion, and communicate the quality of waste by using metrics such as contamination rates.

Download our guide “What do recycling icons mean?” and share it with your colleagues.

You are  when you and your customers place waste in the correct bin. Pre-cycling helps us recycle more efficiently. Understanding the recycling symbols helps us recycle more.

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Jane S. King

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