How Does the How2Recycle Label Work?

In the US, 66% of recyclable packaging is not recycled1. With many environmental claims on retailer shelves, GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) developed consumer friendly recycling instructions through the How2Recycle label program. In this shift toward more transparent claims, this program alleviates concerns regarding recycling procedures to better support consumers in their packaging disposal practices and showcases efforts to create group norms for recycling.

How2Recycle™ is a standardized labeling system that clearly communicates recycling instructions to the public. It involves a coalition of forward thinking brands who want their packaging to be recycled and are empowering consumers through smart packaging labels2.

Fox Packaging joins organizations like Amazon, Unilever, and Aldi who have taken leadership roles in providing transparency in recycling and sustainability by making authentic commitments.

77% of consumers surveyed have said that their impression of a company becomes more positive when they learn that a company is a member of How2Recycle2.

Store Drop OffBy joining as a participating manufacturer, our collaborative goals are to2:

        1. Reduce confusion by creating a clear, well-understood, and nationally harmonized label that enables industry to convey to consumers how to recycle a package.
  1. Improve the reliability, completeness, and transparency of recyclability claims.
  2. Provide a labeling system that follows Federal Trade Commission Green Guides.
  3. Increase the availability and quality of recycled material.

This label indicates that at least 60% of the U.S. population can recycle the package at store drop-off locations3. While plastic bags and some plastic wraps are recyclable, a small amount of community facilities have the infrastructure to process the plastic items, which can become wrapped inside the recycling equipment, jamming the machine and causing downtime and requiring workers to be hands on; ultimately, sending a recyclable material to the landfill.

What opportunities does the How2Recyle label communicate?

Communities throughout the U.S have varied access to recycling of different packaging materials. The How2Recycle label places an emphasis on the need for consumers to understand their community recycling capabilities above all else. This transparent label also aids in aligning municipalities and businesses by creating best practice expectations through regulations, directing suppliers, developing sustainable products and services and new business models.

According to the How2Recycle Consumer Survey Report2 from 2019, 61% of respondents are changing their behavior because of How2Recycle and 78% of respondents think How2Recycle is easy or somewhat easy to understand.

There is an opportunity to promote sustainable material collection and sorting, to provide jobs, and to drive innovation in efforts to fuel the circular economy. This first begins with educating consumers on how to recycle in a way that supports that loop.

Examples are1:

  • Build a case for sustainable packaging, metamotivation research has demonstrated that when consumers receive tangible information on sustainability, they act more sustainably.
  • If packaging programs employ more proven sustainable packaging which is clearly and meaningfully communicated, consumers have communicated their interest in reciprocating the company’s efforts
  • Adjust the packaging value chain to enable a more sustainable food system that combats food waste
  • Adopt a consistent definition for sustainability across the industry

What isn't recyclable through store drop-off?

Only some packages can be recycled through store drop-off. When you take your bags and wraps to the store, you should not include any2:

  • Biodegradable or compostable bags
  • Pre-washed salad mix bags
  • Candy wrappers
  • Most pet food bags
  • Ensure that all plastic is clean and dry before recycling

Following the communication and instructions of the How2Recycle label will empower consumers to recycle correctly, avoiding contamination in our stream.

If you’re a brand owner and you would like to learn more about how to become a member of theGreen Mesh How2Recycle program to feature this label on your packaging program, email   

To find a store drop-off location near you, use this Find a Drop-Off Location tool4 to find participating in-store programs at retail stores, municipal recycling and private recyclers in the U.S.



Topics: Packaging, flexible packaging, produce packaging, social responsibility, recycling, how2recyle, sustainable packaging coalition