Even though the grocery store sector accounts for around 70% of the packing market, a recent record unveiled almost a third of plastic packing utilized by UK super markets is either non-recyclable through standard collection schemes or very difficult to recycle. This isn’t country specific – recycling processes are an issue worldwide.
Most plastic food packaging will have the word ‘recyclable’ on it, however this does not always always indicate the wrapping will be recycled. The actual process of recycling multi-material packaging can be time-consuming and expensive, and is dependent heavily on customer conduct as well as collection segregation.
Adopting one type of packaging
Many food merchandise utilize a blend of packaging materials, for instance microwaveable meals in mnarkets might use card, transparent film, and black plastic, not all of which can easily become recycled. Even if they could, the actual process of recycling them might demand the customer to separate the materials so that the plastics can be reprocessed independently from the card. It’s not usually necessary to utilize all three materials, and food brands can easily make a transition on the way to implementing streamlined types of packing, which utilize just one or two materials. This has seen many brands, including Waitrose, invest in innovative alternate options, such as its fibre-based ready food dish which has purpose-made finishing – simplifying its packing to make it convenient to recycle whilst moving away from the usage of black colored plastic material.
Tackling black plastic
Black plastic in general could be an region where food brands can instantaneously improve the sustainability of their packaging. The reason for black plastic’s use more than clear possibilities are primarily aesthetic, however this form of plastic could be a challenge to recycle with present technology. The black carbon pigments can not be detected by the appliances that sort plastics for recycling, indicating that recyclable material can only be diverted to energy from trash facilities or landfill. In most cases, there could be no justification that the food packaging couldn’t be switched to alternative colors, which are more easily identifiable, meaning they can be more frequently recycled, supported by the current worldwide infrastructure.