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Behind the eco labels: Mobilus Loop

Pat Thomas

1st April, 2007

This widely-used label can indicate both recycled content and that the product is recyclable.

When a product is described as ‘recycled’, this means that it contains some material that has been recovered or reprocessed. This does not necessarily mean that it is made from 100 per cent recycled material, but could contain any proportion of recycled and virgin material.

The symbol has different implications for different products. Glass, paper and cans are recycled into similar products so can be used and recycled repeatedly. Most plastics can be recycled just once, and not in the same form. Soda bottles might become carpet or sleeping bag stuffing. Milk bottles might end up as building materials, recycling bins and toys.

Currently only about 3.5 per cent of all plastic generated is recycled, compared to 34 per cent of paper, 22 per cent of glass and 30 per cent of metals. Critics say the environmental impact of plastics regeneration is quite high in terms of energy use and hazardous by-products.

Also, the presence of the mobilus loop does not necessarily mean the product will be accepted for recycling locally. Producers increasingly manufacture their goods for a European or worldwide market and are obliged to include a variety of symbols, some of which are not for the benefit of the consumer but for the waste handling/disposal industry.

The Ecologist says

The most efficient thing consumers can do to reduce waste is to buy less, reuse where possible and refuse to buy over-packaged goods.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist May 2007

To find out the truth behind other Eco Labels click here


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