A project on this scale will not work unless everyone is involved. Consumers, businesses, and governments can begin by using the standardized color coding system even if they only recycle a few of these products. One of the most common feedback responses I get is that consumers would not be willing to ‘take the time‘ to implement this. I disagree. If you give consumers convenient options to improve and conserve their environment, they will welcome it passionately.
Using internationally recognized symbols (much like the current recycling symbol) for each specific product stream will also make the process more acceptable to a larger international audience. Four basic symbols for paper, plastics, metals and organics would provide the visual cue anyone anywhere could understand at a distance. Products could also have a ‘secondary symbol’ to break each category down into specific types of products that specific locations permit.
e.g., Metal containers in some places might only accept aluminum. Plastic containers in some locations may only accept plastic water bottles. Paper products in some areas would only accept paper and not glue processed cardboards. Organic containers in some areas would only accept glass bottles, etc..
Each individual campaign in different areas can be customized to the specific area and the recycling resources available in that area.