Just as you read ingredient lists to make sure what you are purchasing at the supermarket is good for your health, you can read other labels to get a picture of environmental impact.
Take a look at the packaging of Ziploc® brand bags to see just what the box is telling you.
1. An increasing number of household brands are including important information on their packaging to better explain how you can dispose of it. For example, Ziploc®’s new packaging contains information about how Ziploc® brand bags and the packaging itself can be recycled. This new label is part of How2Recycle, a program developed by GreenBlue, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustainable packaging. This voluntary labeling system helps explain exactly how products and their packaging can be recycled, in an effort to eliminate any confusion.
Any time you see these three chasing arrows in a triangle formation, it means that all or part of the package and its contents are recyclable. In this case, there are two chasing-arrow icons. The icon with “BOX” underneath it shows that the cardboard box is recyclable with other paper goods. The icon with “BAGS” underneath it shows that the plastic bags within are recyclable with plastic products at a store drop-off facility (note the special instructions to “Recycle if Clean & Dry”).
2. Recycled material can come from multiple sources; the two main categories are pre- and post-consumer. “Post-consumer content” is recycled material that comes from waste that consumers have already used and recycled. On the other hand, pre-consumer content, recycled content that isn’t identified as post-consumer, is typically recycled material made from scraps and other leftovers from manufacturing processes. So while this box is made entirely with recycled material, 35% is material like newspaper or boxes that you or I may have recycled at home, and the rest is material more likely leftover from various manufacturing processes.
3. Bags must be clean and dry before being dropped off for recycling, because residue could cause contamination during the recycling process.
4. Ziploc® brand bags are made from polyethylene and dye — but not BPA (Bisphenol A). Research has shown that exposure to bisphenol A is widespread, and may negatively affect human development and reproduction. .
5. Have you ever noticed the “U” symbol on products and wondered what it means? It’s the symbol of the Orthodox Union, and it means that the product has been certified kosher for those who keep a kosher diet and lifestyle.
6. Recycled plastic bags will not necessarily come back to life as another plastic bag. Most plastic film will be turned into composite lumber, or it could be transformed into post-consumer plastic resin pellets, which are used to make a wide range of plastic goods, from playground equipment to pipes to crates or containers.
7. Recycling is essential to conserving resources like energy and natural raw materials, to reducing pollution, and to keeping materials out of the landfills. One part of Ziploc® brand’s sustainability mission is to make sure their products get recycled. Ziploc® brand bags (and their packaging) are fully recyclable: It’s as easy as dropping off the clean and dry bags in one of the thousands of collection bins found at most supermarkets and other retailers, and recycling the paperboard packaging along with your other paper recycling.