The overwhelming majority of Australians (95%) claim they are confident about recycling their household waste, but a new Nestlé study reveals the stark reality, with 88% putting everyday household items in the wrong bin – and labelling is part of the problem.

The research shows that while most people (86%) are taking the time to look on pack for recycling instructions, inconsistent on-pack labels are contributing to confusion in bins.

Nestlé Oceania head of corporate affairs and sustainability, Margaret Stuart said, “More than 600 companies have adopted the Australasian Recycling Label but we’re calling on more companies to do so. We must help people by providing clear, concise and consistent labelling to make sure that the right things get to our recycling centres and don’t end up in landfill.”

She added: “There are lots of recycling labels on the market – such as ‘Recycle me’, ‘Remember to recycle’ and even the Mobius loop – but these don’t necessarily mean the packaging is recyclable or tell people how to recycle it. There is only one labelling scheme that makes it clear – and that’s the Australasian Recycling Label.”

Recycler iQ Renew CEO Danial Gallagher said they see the results of over-confidence and the confusion that inconsistent labels can cause when the contents of recycling bins arrive at their sorting facility.

“We see so many things come through that simply shouldn’t be there. Recycling right is so important for the environment and keeping our recycling streams clean helps us make the most of that opportunity,” he said.  

Nestlé is committed to making 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025 and is rolling out the label on its locally manufactured products to help consumers know how to recycle right.