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2 December, 2007

So that's what it means

Product packaging in the EU, and presumably the rest of the world, bears a wide range of iconography relating to recycling; I suppose the triangular moebius loop is the main one.  Some indicate the nature of the materials and hence the optimum processing technique, but one logo doesn't mean what I thought, and could confuse.

Green Dot logo (TM)The Green DotTM (Der Grüne Punkt in its originating country of Germany) is a proprietory symbol which companies pay to use (its reproduction here for information purposes obviously isn't intended as infringement of trademark), the fee dependent on the quantity, nature and reprocessing cost of the packaging.
Hence it indicates that the producer has paid towards collection and reprocessing, a principle I applaud. The cumulative license fees also fund schemes to develop more-readily recyclable packaging and to minimise the use of packaging at all.

However, it does not indicate that the marked packaging is recycled, will be recycled or even can be recycled. This is important: unrecyclable items may bear the green dot.

In several countries, householders dispose of green dot waste separately for reprocessing or disposal at producers' expense, but the UK is not a participating nation at present, and the icon is not generally used on items produced here for the domestic market (in fact, my reading suggests there's a financial disincentive).

The obvious point of all this is that the green dot should not be used by UK households as guidance about how to dispose of an item. For example, this blog entry was prompted by my noticing that the green dot appears prominently on a shampoo bottle made of a blended plastic which Lancaster's doorstep collection scheme will not accept for recycling.

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