The message on the bottle: Rethinking plastic labelling to better encourage sustainable use

Stephen D. Burrows, Francisca Ribeiro, Stacey O'Brien, Elvis Okoffo, Tania Toapanta, Nathan Charlton, Sarit Kaserzon, Chun Yin Lin, Cheng Tang, Cassandra Rauert, Xianyu Wang, Katja Shimko, Jake O'Brien, Piers A. Townsend, Matthew N. Grayson, Tamara Galloway, Kevin V. Thomas

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Plastic pollution continues to worsen globally in volume and complexity. The complexity in plastic production, use and disposal is significant, highlighting the importance of clear communication to consumers. Yet despite this, poor plastic labelling is clear, evident from poor waste management metrics even in the most equipped countries. Plastic labelling must change to contribute to a holistic intervention on global plastic mismanagement. Discussion on this topic leads to three key recommendations: 1. An accurate and clear “sustainability scale” to empower consumers to make decisions informed by environmental and human health implications; 2. Directions for appropriate disposal action in the region of purchase; 3. A comprehensive list of plastic composition, including additives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-118
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Early online date24 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • Additives
  • Communication
  • Labelling
  • Plastic
  • Recycling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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