California moves to ban misleading recycling symbols on items that can't be recycled

California moves to ban misleading recycling symbols on items that can't be recycled

By Lucy Jones  September 21st, 2021

Producers will soon have to prove products can be recycled in order to display a recycling symbol.


The state of California has moved to ban the use of the mobius loop (the three arrow recycling symbol) on products unless they can prove the material is recycled and turned into new products.

A bill passed by the state's assembly this month will outlaw what is essentially false advertising, incentivising companies to switch to recyclable packaging and preventing millions of items that can't be recycled from ending up in recycling bins.

"It's a basic truth-in-advertising concept," California State Senator Ben Allen, a Democrat and the bill's lead sponsor, told The New York Times. "We have a lot of people who are dutifully putting materials into the recycling bins that have the recycling symbols on them, thinking that they're going to be recycled, but actually, they're heading straight to the landfill."

The bill has been backed by environmental groups, local governments and waste and recycling companies who believe it will improve the efficiency of their systems. Supporters also say it will give companies an incentive to invest in recyclable packaging alternatives.

Imposing restrictions on labelling will also give consumers more clarity around what they can and can't put into the recycling bin. At Planet Ark we believe this kind of clear labelling is critical to an efficient recycling system, which is why we developed the Australasian Recycling Label — a recycling label that provides you with easy-to-understand information on how to dispose of each part of a product's packaging. Check for the label before you chuck your packaging in the bin.

Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.


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Lucy Jones

Lucy started her career working as a writer and editor in print and digital publishing. She went on to create content for Australia's leading sustainable fashion platform while completing her Master of Cultural Studies. Lucy spends her downtime at the beach, crocheting and hanging out with her cat Larry. She believes words can change the world and is stoked to help Planet Ark spread the message of positive environmental change.

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