What is a How2Recycle™ Label?

As you know, I’m in the process of moving from aspirational recycler to recycling savant. The other day, I was reading a label on a bottle of cleaning solution, and the only recycling info it gave me was, “please recycle.” I mean, good, I’ll recycle it, but I was looking for more in-depth directions.

So, a few days later, I was cleaning out my fridge and found a container of Philadelphia® Cream Cheese. Guess what? It contained the recycling label of my dreams!? It told me to discard the foil seal, rinse the tub, replace the lid, then check with my community to see if it recycles these.

I became intrigued, so of course, I looked it up. According to its website, “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 labels.”

Why is it so great? Simply put, these labels are going to revolutionize the way you recycle. These labels spell it all out:

  1. How to prepare your item for recycling
  2. An icon that tells you whether the item falls into 1 of 4 categories –
    • Widely Recycled
    • Check Locally
    • Not Yet Recycled
    • Store Drop-Off (applies mostly to plastic film)
  3. Type of Materials (tells you what type of material the packaging is made up from)
  4. Packaging Format (bottle, can, etc).

Though these labels are not required to be on all packaging (using it requires a membership), I hope it will be adopted across most brands. Forward-thinking enterprises like Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Unilever are already members.

So, the next time you recycle, look for this label and you’ll know you’re doing it right!

Leave your comments or questions for me below.

What is a How2Recycle™ Label?


Hi, I'm MJ, a recovering aspirational recycler who started HowToRecycle to share her journey with others. I kindly invite you to share your knowledge with me, talk about issues that are bothering you, tell me where I’m wrong (you know you want to), and help me discover new things!