Almost half of the packaging used by major UK supermarket chains cannot be easily recycled, according to a recent survey from the consumer insight group Which?.
The report analysed the packaging of a typical household shop of 46 of the most popular items from Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Iceland, Lidl, M&S, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose (through their online stores), breaking down each item’s packaging into its component parts and assessed whether each piece could be easily recycled.
The average percentage of packaging, including cardboard, glass and plastics, that could be easily put in household recycling bins was just 52%.
It added that this could be due to the number of supermarket packaging that was labelled incorrectly or not labelled at all (42%).
Around half of the packaging in most supermarkets including Asda (50%), Lidl (50%), Ocado (49%), Iceland (48%), Aldi (47%), Sainsbury’s (45%) and Marks & Spencer (47%), was not recyclable.
Tesco and Waitrose were flagged as the best supermarkets for recyclable packaging, as only 40% of their packaging could not be easily recycled.
Simple & Clear
Which? noted the balancing act retailers face when dealing with both organic waste and plastic, with plastic use preventing high levels of food waste.
However, the group added that it was surprised at how little consistency there was across the sector, with some products packaged very differently depending on which supermarket they had been purchased from.
“Our research shows there is a lot more supermarkets and manufacturers can do to banish single-use plastics and make sure any packaging they do use is minimal, recyclable and correctly labelled, so that shoppers know exactly how they can recycle it,” Natalie Hitchins, Which? head of home products and services, said.
“To reduce the waste that goes to landfill, the government must make labelling mandatory, simple and clear as well as invest in better infrastructure to ensure that recycling is easy for everyone, regardless of where they live.”
© 2019 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout.