This review examines current information, both WRAP published work and externally published work, to provide an evidence base around the effectiveness of on-pack recycling information to encourage citizen recycling behaviours. It also contains short recommendations on how on-pack recycling information may be improved based on the information found in the existing literature.
Within the UK, the vast majority of food packaging contains some sort of information on how to dispose of the product. Additionally, the recycling of packaging has become, for the most part, an embedded behaviour.
Improvements to recycling infrastructure and communications as well as a shifting social narrative have been key drivers in implementing what is now largely a social norm1. However, there are still improvements to make and the presence of recycling labels and information alone is not necessarily sufficient to encourage positive recycling behaviours.
For the label or on-pack recycling information to influence citizen behaviour, the citizen must pay attention to the information, understand the information, and act on it at point of disposal.
But how often does this actually happen? Human behaviour is complex and an array of on pack information could potentially cause confusion which negatively impacts citizen disposal behaviours leading to waste.
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1 Thomas, C., V, Sharp., 2013. Understanding the normalisation of recycling behaviour and its implications for other pro-environmental behaviours: a review of social norms and recycling.
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On-pack labelling and recycling behaviour
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