I picked up a copy of the Sunday Times on…well…Sunday which was wrapped in two layers of plastic wrapping. On the plastic wrapping I saw out of the corner of my eye a recycle symbol. For a split second I was quite impressed, is it possible that there are finally ways for consumers to easily recycle plastic wrapping? Upon closer inspection my excitement turned to annoyance.

As you can see from the picture there is indeed a recycling symbol but it is followed by the text “This wrapper is totally recyclable. To recycle, return the wrapper to: …..”. It is good that the company provides plastic film recycling but this logo is misleading for a few reasons, first and foremost because even though it is in principle recyclable, consumers cannot act on this information. The only way a consumer who buys the paper would recycle this plastic is by putting it in an envelope, buying a stamp and sending that to the company, something that no consumers will do.

This logo is also misleading because most consumers who quickly look over the plastic film will think, ‘good, this is recycled plastic’ or ‘good, I can recycle this in my recycling bin’ which isn’t true and will just lead to contaminating recycling bins with unrecyclabe products.

I think in this case the recycling symbol should only be present on this plastic film if a) it is easily recyclable in this country through local recycling schemes or b) Marks & Spencer, the store I bought this newspaper from, provides recycling boxes in store where you can leave the plastic film and they send it back to the company for recycling.