Top 10 Reasons for Standardized Labels

1. People are looking for effective labels:

Everywhere across the country schools, businesses, faith-based organizations and public offices that recycle, struggle to find effective labels to mark their bins. More often than not they are left having to create their own.
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2. Inconsistent labels cause confusion. Confusion causes low capture rates and contamination:

How often have you approached a bin and had to look inside to see if you can throw your recyclable in it? If the public needs to re-learn what to do every time they approach a bin, then they’ll treat each bin like a trash can. With the migration toward effective standardized labels, society will begin to have a reflex response for what to do at the recycling bin, confusion will dissipate, capture rates will increase, quality of materials will improve, the sustainable packaging movement can expand and exponential progress will begin.
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3. Haulers are burdened:

Because of the confusion, haulers have manpower and economic burdens that come from the increased need to sort contaminants out of the collected recyclables.
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4. Manufacturers are burdened:

Manufacturers that purchase the recycled materials are economically burdened with the amount of contaminants that are found in the recyclables they have paid for. They purchase the materials by weight and often find a significant percentage of that weight is unusable waste. They then have to sort out the contaminants themselves and pay for the disposal of the waste … and potentially have to spend time and energy going back to the hauler to renegotiate the price.
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5. Growing recycling even when expansion isn’t possible:

In some markets and geographic areas, expanding recycling is not likely to happen anytime soon due either to lack of participation and/or lack of infrastructure. Creating infrastructure in some geographic areas is economically challenging due to remoteness. Standardized labels can significantly and measurably increase the capture rates from the markets, organizations and buildings that already have recycling implemented. When less manpower and expense is spent on haulers having to sort out contaminants, more resources can go towards processing more marketable recyclables.
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6. Reducing expenses:

Organizations and schools that are already recycling and paying for such services, can significantly decrease solid-waste related expenses when they begin diverting more materials into recycling bins and out of landfill-bound trash cans.
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7. Unnecessary time wasted trying to "figure out" recycling:

Green consultants, green teams, sustainability directors and administrators in schools and organizations across the country spend an exorbitant amount of time "trying to figure out" how to make their recycling program more effective; and in the absence of effective and consistent labels, are even spending tremendous amounts of time training employees/students what to put in bins. With effective and consistent labeling, those specialists can now be free to work on bottom-line initiatives to reduce waste, conserve energy, conserve water and increase their buy-recycled purchase plan to feed the lifecycle of recycling.
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8. End results:

More comprehensive recycling for the public at the bins mean better capture rates and cleaner materials. Cleaner materials mean less sorting by haulers and higher prices from their customers. Cleaner materials means less sorting and less waste disposal costs for the producer. Cleaner materials mean less risk of contaminated output in production. Cleaner materials mean the U.S. will be more likely to use the recyclables versus sending our contaminated recyclables to China. Cleaner materials mean more recyclables in the U.S. production lifecycle, less vulnerability and dependence on China and others.
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9. Quality of the label materials:

Currently there are hundreds of thousands of 8.5x11 stained, ripped, dirty, faded sheets of paper taped to bins across the country acting as recycling labels. This isn’t an effective or sustainable approach to recycling. North America’s leading recycling label producer and distributor contacted Recycle Across America™ recently and volunteered to discontinue offering the plethora of recycling labels that they have offered in the past 25 years and will now be offering only standardized recycling labels to help further this initiative (they too have witnessed the confusion and frustration over the years). They have agreed to offer the labels at prices comparable to one-color/photoless labels that have been offered in the past. The standardized labels are industrial strength made specifically for recycling bins and dumpsters applications. The standardized labels are created to withstand daily custodial use for indoor bins as well as withstand severe outdoor conditions, including Alaska winters and Arizona summers. The standardized labels have UV protection and carry a 3-year warranty.
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10. Use of the national standardized labels will assuredly simplify the act of recycling and help expedite environmental progress.

National standardized labels are not the environmental silver-bullet ... however, they are an undeniable solution that brings measurable improvements to multiple levels of recycling ... and it is ready to go right now. Everyday there are thousands of people looking for effective labels. If you haven’t already, we hope that you’ll add a link to your website to help them. If you would like to be more aggressive to help communicate the relationship between standardized labels and the overall efficacy of recycling and sustainable packaging, consider broadcasting this initiative out to your audiences. You are welcome to share this video: http://www.recycleacrossamerica.org/video.html Thank you! And here’s to progress!
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