Friday, June 5, 2009

Fancy Recycling Symbol- not a recycling symbol, actually.

Since I'm now in the habit of scrutinizing every plastic container I own, trying to determine it's recyclability, I've come across this symbol and wondered what it meant. It looks fancy, must be European.

Well I was right about it being European, but this actually isn't a recycling symbol. This is called the "Green Dot" and it basically means that it:
complies with the German Packaging Ordinance for the return of consumer packaging. The symbol can, in fact, be in any colour other than red. It is administered by Duales System Deutschland GmbH, a non-profit organisation which was established to enable manufacturers and distributors to fulfil the requirements of the legislation. This shows that a fee has been paid for the recovery of the packaging in some European countries.

What does the symbol mean here in the United States? Bupkis. Nada. Zilch. Furthermore with the specific bottle of MAC tinted moisturizer I'm looking at now, there are no other symbols indicating what kind of plastic the bottle is made from- so I can't put it out for curbside recycling if it is #1 or #2 plastic. Not very helpful.

However, many cosmetic companies have recycling programs. For instance, when I'm done with it I can take my MAC tinted moisturizer back to MAC (though they don't say what they will do with it), or I can take it to Origins- they have a brand new recycling program and will take back cosmetic packaging, no matter what brand, for recycling or "energy recovery"-- I'd love to see more details on what that means!

Now, if only I could find a really good tinted oil free spf moisturizer that doesn't come in plastic...


The Green Cat said...

Hey Juli, On a similar note, I've seen a symbol on some cosmetics packaging (Aveda and MAC to name 2 companies) that looks like an open cosmetics jar with a number in it (like 24M). I've tried to Google this but come up with nothing. Do you know what this means?

Juli said...

Hi Cat,

That is the PAO, or Period After Opeining mark, also an EU thing. It indicates the optimum amount of time a consumer should keep a product after unsealing- 24M means 24 months. I found the info here:

The Green Cat said...

Awesome! I never would have guessed that. Thanks Juli!

Brad Gray said...

ENERGY RECOVERY generally means burning the product and using the heat to power something. Sometimes it is the processing plant but most often the energy is sent into the power grid. In some countries, like Japan and Switzerland, that don't have much land for land filling they burn much of their waste and use the heat as energy. This method is very rare in Australia (where I'm writing from).