One third of UK supermarket plastic packaging not easily recycled

Written by: Jo Gallacher | Published:

Almost one third of UK supermarket plastic packaging is unable to be easily recycled.

An investigation by Which? of 27 everyday own-brand items at 10 major supermarkets found Lidl had the lowest proportion of widely recyclable packaging (71%), with Morrisons coming out on top at 81%.

Iceland (73%) Ocado (74%) and Sainsbury’s (75%) were also close to the bottom of the pile.

The investigation showcased the huge inconsistencies in plastic packaging due to different systems of labelling and some items not labelled at all.

Some groceries had non-recyclable packaging no matter which supermarket they came from, for example all packaged easy-peel oranges came in nets with plastic labels.

Which? is now calling on the government and manufacturers to simplify current recycling labels and make recycling labelling compulsory on all plastic packaging.

Nikki Stopford, director of research and publishing at Which? said: “Which? believes a lot more can be done to increase the amount of recyclable packaging and the way it is labelled so that consumers know what can be recycled and how to recycle it.

“The plastic pollution crisis makes it more crucial than ever that the government, manufacturers and supermarkets do the best they can to banish plastic that cannot be recycled and promote the use of less damaging packaging.”

The UK’s major supermarkets have now signed up to the UK Plastics Pact, which pledges 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable to compostable by 2025.


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