Create Plastic Packaging That is Simpler for Consumers to Recycle

plastic packaging

Recyclable and Non-Recyclable Packaging Should be Understood

Understanding what plastic packaging can and cannot be recycled is one of the significant problems individuals have. The majority of people are aware that cardboard and paper boxes may be recycled, but what about bags, food packets, padded envelopes, and take-out packaging?

Clear labeling is frequently relied upon by packaging’s final consumers to determine what may be recycled at home. It’s not ideal if they put the packing in the incorrect trash if it doesn’t have the proper label. Additionally, some consumers might not be aware that you must remove fasteners and plastic packing tape from the packaging before recycling. Further, packaging that has been tainted with oil or food cannot be recycled. So, the pizza box you consumed over the weekend? Unless you have the time to take out the oily sections and recycle the unaffected parts, it needs to go in the general garbage bin.

Knowing Where to Recycle Packaging and How Your Postcode Affects Recycling

In the UK, there are more than 300 separate councils and local administrations. The recycling regulations vary depending on where you reside in Great Britain since trash management isn’t standardized. The types of packaging that are acceptable in kerbside recycling collections and the contents gathered at recycling facilities might vary. These elements make it more challenging to determine what packaging should be recycled and where. This demonstrates how the packaging materials used by firms may be crucial since their ease of recycling can help increase recycling rates.

If your company sends packages outside of the UK, recycling regulations in other nations should also be considered. For instance, whereas plastic mailing bags cannot be recycled at home in the UK, they can live in Ireland as part of the normal domestic garbage collection process.

Industrial Recycling vs. Kerbside Recycling

Another problem with packaging recycling is determining whether a package may be recycled at the curb or in an industrial setting. Industrially recyclable packaging is permitted for enterprises that send products to other businesses since they may employ commercial waste management collections. Products like pallet wrap, for instance, may be recycled commercially. Private companies more frequently undertake industrial recycling or reuse of packaging materials than public sector services. Perhaps for this reason, at 52%, the commercial recycling rate is just a little bit higher than the domestic recycling rate.

Issues with Contamination in Recycling Streams

Many of these difficulties can lead to contamination of recycling waste streams. Compostable materials gathered in plastic streams, tape on cardboard, food waste on glass and plastic containers—all these things can make recycling more difficult. Therefore, contamination makes it more difficult for both public and private sector recyclers to use the packaging materials they collect, in addition to consumers recycling less at home. This has an effect on how much packing has to be kept out of landfills.

Recycling And Dispelling Myths

What can therefore be recycled? We’ll examine some widespread misconceptions about recycling and debunk them.

ALL Types of Paper May be Recycled

This is untrue! While the majority of paper may be recycled, you should double-check when using wrapping paper and specialty papers like greaseproof or waxed sheets. Wrapping paper is frequently to blame for contaminating recycling. It cannot be recycled at the curb if it is coated with metallic material or has glitter on it. This is because the plastic used to create these finishes shouldn’t be disposed of with paper trash.

The Corrugated Cardboard May be Recycled

This is real. In the UK, we recycle more than 80% of cardboard. Plastic-based tapes should be removed from boxes before recycling because they might pollute the waste stream or clog recycling equipment.

You can recycle that piece of packing material if you see a symbol with three arrows in a triangle.

This is untrue! You think, “Great; I can recycle this,” when you see the triangle with arrows. You might not even be able to. The “Morbius Loop” emblem denotes that an item has the potential to be recycled but that not all recycling collection systems will necessarily accept it. For additional information about recycling symbols, click that link.

Plastic Cannot be Recycled

This is untrue! In actuality, the majority of plastic can be recycled, but how and where depends on the type of resin used to make the plastic container. Most household collections only take specific types of plastic packaging because recycling plastic may be complicated and challenging to handle correctly. End users can search for nearby supermarket recycling locations to recycle packaging composed of soft plastics, such as carrier bags.

To ensure that some packaging is recycled, you should wash it.

This is real. Before placing packaging in the recycling bin, especially food packaging, wash it to make sure it is recycled.

Accepting Accountability for Waste Packing

What can be done to promote recycling across the country now that we’ve thought about the difficulties and myths associated with recycling packaging?

Any company that produces, distributes or utilizes packaging must practice recycling responsibly. It’s crucial to take your packaging’s lifetime into account. It’s critical to make sure packaging is created, used, and disposed of appropriately. All of this contributes to reducing the environmental impact that packaging will have. Recycling is one way to lessen packaging’s harmful ecological effects, albeit it is not the only one. So, if your company uses packaging, how can you assist? Four suggestions from our packaging specialists can help you make your packaging more recyclable.

What Can You Do to Make Recycling Your Packaging Simpler?

If your packaging can be recycled in domestic collections, it is more likely to enter a recycling stream.

Instead, switch to materials that are regularly accepted at kerbside or municipal collection stations. Simple changes can make it easier to recycle your packaging, such as switching from plastic to paper void fill or from plastic to paper packing tape. Other substitutions include utilizing paper padded envelopes rather than bubble envelopes and paper mailing bags in place of plastic ones.

Include Explicit Recycling Instructions on All of Your Packaging

Although it might seem obvious, you’d be shocked at how frequently the packaging individuals get the valuable recycling information. Because of the inadequate or nonexistent labeling, 14% of respondents to our 2021 unpacking survey indicated they weren’t sure if they could recycle the package they got.

Collect Your Own Packaging and Recycle it or Reuse it

One method of reducing packaging waste is to switch to long-term reusable packaging. This might not apply to your product or supply chain, however. However, you may look into getting your customers’ packaging and recycling it! This approach has promise if you own a business-to-business company and often visit your clients’ websites. It also applies to consumer brands whose internal supply networks require packaging. This is best demonstrated by fashion companies collecting and recycling garment bags from their retail outlets.

Assist in Educating Your Clients

It’s crucial to increase awareness of what can and cannot be recycled. The better-end customers can recycle it, the more information they have about the package they receive. You might add QR codes to your packing materials in addition to visible recycling labels to inform buyers. These can connect those who are interested in recycling your packaging to your website’s information on how to do so.


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