While the grocery sector accounts for about 70% of the packaging market, a recent document revealed almost a third of plastic packaging utilized by British super markets is either non-recyclable via standard collection systems or fairly hard to recycle. This isn’t location specific – recycling processes can be an issue worldwide.
Most synthetic food packaging will posses the word ‘recyclable’ on it, however this doesn’t always always indicate the packaging will be recycled. The actual process of recycling multi-material packaging can be lengthy and costly, and is dependent heavily on customer behaviour and collection segregation.
Adopting one kind of packaging
Numerous food products use a mix of packaging components, for example microwaveable dishes in mnarkets will use card, transparent film, and black plastic, certainly not all of which can easily be recycled. Even if they could, the actual process of recycling these might require the customer to separate the components so that the plastic materials can be reprocessed independently from the cardboard. It’s not usually required to use all three components, and food brands can easily make a transition toward implementing simplified forms of packaging, which use just one or two components. This has observed numerous brands, including Waitrose, invest in advanced alternate options, such as its fibre-based ready food tray which includes purpose-made coating – simplifying its packaging to make it easier to recycle whilst moving away from the usage of black colored plastic material.
Tackling black plastic
Black plastic in general may be a area where food brands can instantly improve the sustainability concerning their packaging. The reason for black plastic’s use more than clear options are chiefly aesthetic, however this type of plastic may be a obstacle to recycle with present technology. The black carbon pigments can not be detected by the appliances that sort plastics for recycling, meaning that recyclable product can only be diverted to power from waste facilities or landfill. In most instances, there may be no justification that the food packaging couldn’t be changed to alternative colors, which are more easily recognizable, meaning they could be more widely recycled, backed by the existing worldwide infrastructure.