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Supermarkets Criticised over Lack of Recyclable Packaging

15 May 2019 - 09:49 by Graham Miller

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Campaigners at the Recycling Association have shed light on the scale of the issue that is presented by the proportion of supermarket operators in the UK which are failing to take recyclability into account when packaging their products.

The Guardian reports that association head Craig Curtis is especially critical of the fact that where plastic packaging is used it is often made from multiple materials which are incompatible with current recycling techniques. This means that consumers have no choice but to place single-use packaging in with their general waste rather than sending it to be processed in a sustainable way.

Curtis also said that problems arose when packaging was configured in several layers, with an outer plastic shell housing within it a plastic tray that is itself impossible to recycle.

In particular, the packaging of fruits and vegetables in this way is seen as being a major issue, since in many cases these natural products are already protected by a skin or outer layer that renders the need for plastic packaging of any kind redundant.

Experts want to see more steps taken to change packaging processes, not only reducing the amount of materials involved but also making sure that any plastics which are present can be properly recycled.

Iceland is one supermarket chain which has made a commitment to eliminating plastic packaging from its own-brand products within the next three years. This is a sign of progress, although the entire industry will need to follow in its footsteps to deal with the concerns that campaigners and experts are voicing at the moment.

Consumers can also take responsibility for this by changing their buying habits and voting with their wallets to show supermarkets that there is value in embracing recyclability and sustainability going forwards.