Re: recycling logo and recyclability claims

Katharine Bennett (
Tue, 26 Jan 1999 07:47:54 -0700


Everyone complains about the recycle logo being on containers and their
frustration because it is not recyclable -- this was the basis of the
"Take The Wrap" campaign some years ago where people were told to send
plastic bottles to the plastic packaging industry with a note stating
that they understand this bottle is recyclable by the logo on it, but it
is not recyclable in their community...

I purchased a box of Stoned Weat Thins this weekend and next to the
recycle logo on the box are the words:

"This box is made with 100% recycled material including at leaset 40%
post consumer material and is recyclable where facilities exist."

It still doesn't solve the problem, it explains it.


I agree it doesn't solve the problem, but it's a world better than the type
of greenwashing some paperboard packages carry, like "100% recyclable,"
even though facilities to recycle box board don't exist for every
community. It's like adding the percentage of post-consumer content in
recycled paper products, it gives the consumer just a bit more information
to make the right decision when it comes time to buying, disposing or
recycling that package. I can't fault the makers of the cracker box for the
absence of box board recycling in a community. After all, most boxes of
that type in America are recycled paper already. The message is intended to
add a measure of accuracy and not to mislead or misinform consumers
regarding the package's recyclability. It's up to the consumer to
investigate whether or not those recycling options exist.

It brings to mind the plastic bag called "Nature's Friend," a #4 bag
covered with one grandiose environmental claim after another, including
"FDA approved, " and "100% biodegradable." Unfortunately, I still see
"Nature's Friend" from time to time and "greenwashing" continues to mislead
American consumers.