Up to 29 per cent of packaging cannot be recycled

Posted: 23 July 2018 | | No comments yet

With so much plastic packaging not suitable for recycling, Which? is pushing for Government action.


After identifying that up to 29 per cent of plastic packaging is either non-recyclable or difficult to recycle, consumer organisation Which? is calling on the Government to make labelling clear for consumers.

Twenty seven own-brand items were investigated at 10 major supermarkets, where it was found that Lidl had the lowest proportion of widely recyclable packaging, at 71 per cent. Morrisons performed top at 81 per cent, with Iceland at 73 per cent, Ocado at 74 per cent and Sainsbury’s at 75 per cent.

Non-recyclable packaging included all packaged easy-peel oranges, which came in nets with plastic labels. However some supermarkets seemed to find ‘greener’ alternatives for other packaging, such as Morrisons’ chocolate cake,  packaged in a widely recyclable box in comparison to Lidl’s cake, which came in mixed packaging; a widely recyclable box, with a non-recyclable film lid and non-recyclable window.

Between 4 per cent and 10 per cent of packaging could only be analysed at the supermarket, and Which? research found that  fewer than one in 10 shoppers regularly take packaging back to a supermarket for recycling.

Other inconsistencies were also noted, such as different systems of labelling, no labelling, and items being labelled as non-recyclable, when they can be recycled at supermarket bring banks.

Which? is calling on the Government and manufacturers to simplify labelling, making recycling labelling compulsory on all plastic packaging and to prevent manufacturers using non-recyclable packaging where alternatives exist.

Nikki Stopford, Director or Research and Publishing at Which? said: “Which? believes a lot more can be done to increase the amount of recyclable packaging and the way it is labelled so that consumers know what can be recycled and how to recycle it.

“The plastic pollution crisis makes it more crucial than ever that the Government, manufacturers and supermarkets do the best they can to banish plastic that cannot be recycled and promote the use of less damaging packaging.”

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