Half of food packaging used by supermarkets cannot be recycled
Food & Drink / 26 June 2019, 6:30pm / COLIN FERNANDEZ ENVIRONMENT CORRESPONDENT
NEARLY half of packaging used by the biggest supermarkets cannot be recycled, research suggests.
Consumer group Which? looked at 46 items from a typical weekly shop, comparing the materials used in the packaging and clarity of recycling labelling.
They broke each item’s packaging down into its component parts to work out how easily each piece could be recycled.
On average, only 52 per cent of packaging – including cardboard, glass and plastics – could be put in recycling bins at home.
The study looked at 11 of the biggest UK supermarkets – Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Iceland, Lidl, M&S, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.
But Morrisons was the worst offender, with only 61 per cent of its packaging able to be recycled.
The Co-op was a close second with 58 per cent. Its juice cartons, for example, were made out of a combination of materials which are harder to recycle than the clear plastic bottles used by seven out of the other supermarkets.
The best supermarkets were Tesco and Waitrose where 60 per cent of their packaging could be recycled.
The study also found as much as 42 per cent of the supermarket packaging was either labelled incorrectly or not at all.
The worst offender was Iceland, where only 38 per cent of pieces of packaging correctly labelled. Which? used Iceland’s easy peeler oranges as an example of this – as they were not labelled and used a type of plastic netting that cannot be recycled.
Natalie Hitchins, of Which?, said: ‘Our research shows there is a lot more supermarkets and manufacturers can do to banish single-use plastics. To reduce the waste going to landfill, the Government must make labelling mandatory, simple and clear as well as invest in better infrastructure to ensure recycling is easy for everyone, regardless of where they live.’
Responding to the research, Emma Priestland, of Friends of the Earth, said: ‘There is no excuse for this level of plastic use by supermarkets.’