Knowledge for better food systems

UK councils call for more recyclable food packaging

Image: Michal Maňas, Bales of crushed blue PET bottles. In Olomouc, the Czech Republic, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported

The UK’s Local Government Association (LGA) has called for industry to stop creating non-recyclable food packaging, saying that “Councils have done all they can,” to tackle the issue of plastic recycling. The LGA has found that only one-third of plastic packaging used by households can be recycled.

Commonly used plastic packaging types that are difficult to recycle include:

  • Black plastic trays used in ready-meal packaging, since the machines that sort plastic for recycling cannot see black plastic
  • Fruit and vegetable punnets, which can use three different types of polymers, and
  • Margarine and ice-cream tubs made of polypropylene, which the LGA says is a difficult material to recycle.

It has also recently been reported that around half of UK packaging that has been reported as recycled is sent abroad for processing, and that it isn’t clear how much of it is actually recycled (read more here).

View media coverage here and read the Local Government Association’s announcement here. See also the Foodsource resource How important is storage and packaging?

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