UK Supermarkets – One third of plastic packaging can’t be recycled.

Key Points:

The consumer group Which has made a survey of 27 everyday own-brand items at 10 major supermarket chains.

They found that only two thirds of plastics used in packaging was recyclable.

Lidl came bottom of the list with only 71% of it’s packaging either non-recyclable through standard collection schemes or difficult to recycle.

Other supermarkets performing badly were revealed to be Iceland (73% recylable), Ocado (74% recyclable) and Sainsbury’s (75% recyclable)

Which also found that the labelling on all plastic packaging remains very inconsistant. There are numerous different schemes being operated by the supermarkets with some packaging not labelled at all. Some products had labels that could only be seen once the food was unwrapped.

Morrisons was found to be the best performing supermarket. 81% of their products tested could be recycled easily.

Generally black plastic trays and “orange nets” represent a major problem. Not only are they non-recyclable but if they do end up in the recyling process by mistake they can clog up machinery.

A considerable proportion of packaging – up to 10% at some stores – could only be recycled at supermarket collection points and not by regular domestic collection.

A new voluntary pledge – the UK Plastics Pact – was launched in April this year to reduce plastic packaging. 42 businesses have so far joined in supporting the new industry-wide initiative including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Aldi, Lidl and Waitrose. One of the aims of the initiative is for all all plastic packaging to become either reuseable, recycleable or suitable for composing by 2025.

Athough the exact amount is not known experts believe supermarkets in the UK create about 800,000 tonnes of plastic every year.




* 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups  are binned each year in the UK alone
* 7% of plastic bottles  are recycled globally
* One third of all food produced across the globe is lost or wasted
* 1 truck full of plastic is dumped in the sea  every minute
* 1 billion black plastic food trays  go to landfill every year in the UK (FOTE)

How is Plastic Packaging Recycled? | Recycle More

Norway Has Perfected Plastic Recycling, Here’s What The UK Can Learn From Them | Huffington Post

These Are the Biggest Recycling Mistakes You’re Probably Making | Global Citizen

Thousands of tons of UK plastic dumped across world | Sky News

Could a money-back scheme clean up the UK’s plastic bottle plague? | The Guardian