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Most of UK's packaging is not fully recyclable at home

Polling by Which? found that the recyclability of grocery packaging is important to nearly 80 per cent of consumers and that around two-thirds often check the label on a packet before choosing how to dispose of it.

Article originally published by The Telegraph. Hargreaves Lansdown is not responsible for its content or accuracy and may not share the author's views. News and research are not personal recommendations to deal. All investments can fall in value so you could get back less than you invest.

The group analysed 89 of the best-selling branded grocery items and found just a third of the packaging could be fully recycled at home

Two-thirds of the UK's biggest brands do not have packaging that can be fully recycled at home, consumer group Which? said.

The group analysed 89 of the best-selling branded grocery items and found just a third of the packaging could be fully recycled at home and around four in 10 had no labelling to show if they could be recycled.

It said this left consumers “none the wiser about how to dispose of them”. One of the examples it gave was the Pringles can, notoriously hard-to-recycle, which has a lid that can be reused but no label to tell consumers of this.

Kellogg’s, which owns the brand, recently launched a new can which is 90 per cent paper and so can be more easily recycled. The company said the old label featured a number of different languages which can limit the amount of information given.

Other brands which the consumer group identified were Cadbury’s, Cathedral City minis and Babybel.

Polling by Which? found that the recyclability of grocery packaging is important to nearly 80 per cent of consumers and that around two-thirds often check the label on a packet before choosing how to dispose of it.

Natalie Hitchins, from Which?, said: “Consumers are crying out for brands that take sustainability seriously and products that are easy to recycle, but for any real difference to be made to the environment, manufacturers need to maximise their use of recyclable and recycled materials and ensure products are correctly labelled.”

She said labelling should be made mandatory to help shoppers.

Which? experts broke down the packaging of a number of items across ranges of chocolate, crisps and cheese, among others. They weighed the component parts and assessed whether each could be easily recycled.

Crisps were identified as the worst category, with only three per cent of packaging easily recyclable, according to Which?.

This was followed by cheese, with just a third of packaging assessed as easily recyclable, while fizzy drinks ranked best with all of the packaging analysed by Which? found to be recycle friendly.

The group also found examples where product packaging was recyclable or partially recyclable, but a lack of labelling meant that shoppers were not informed. These included Dairylea Cheese Triangles and the Laughing Cow.

In response to the research some manufacturers said that food waste is more damaging to the environment than plastic waste, and a shift to different packaging could lead to more food going stale.

Several pointed out that they have partnerships with a firm called TerraCycle, allowing shoppers to drop off packaging at points across the UK for recycling.

Mondelez, the owner of Cadbury’s, said that tackling plastic waste and reducing the environmental impact of its packaging are “urgent priorities”.

A spokesman said: “By 2025 we’ve committed to make 100 per cent of our packaging recyclable and include recycling information on packs for consumers.”

Kellogg’s also said it is committed to 100 per cent recyclable packaging by the end of 2025.

A spokesman pointed out that the research by Which? took place before it launched its new Pringles can.

Cathedral City said the netting around its minis, identified by Which?, can now be dropped off at recycling points and its packaging will be updated.

Bel UK, which owns The Laughing Cow and Baby Bel, said it was currently rolling out a new pack design for the former which will make clear it can be recycled.

It said the net and wax packaging on Baby Bel’s will soon be recyclable at TerraCycle points.


This article was written by Consumer affairs editor and Sam Meadows from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

Article originally published by The Telegraph. Hargreaves Lansdown is not responsible for its content or accuracy and may not share the author's views. News and research are not personal recommendations to deal. All investments can fall in value so you could get back less than you invest.

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