An analysis by consumer group Which? has revealed that packaging of only a third (34%) of the UK’s largest branded groceries was completely recyclable in household collections.
The group analysed 89 the best-selling branded groceries in the country for their packaging, finding that approximately four in ten or 41% of items had no labelling that showed if they are recyclable or not.
Which? home products and services head Natalie Hitchins said: “Consumers are crying out for brands that take sustainability seriously and products that are easy to recycle, but for any real difference to be made to the environment, manufacturers need to maximise their use of recyclable and recycled materials and ensure products are correctly labelled.
“To reduce the waste to landfill, the government must make labelling mandatory, simple and clear, enabling shoppers to know exactly how to dispose of the packaging on the products they consume.”
Several of the branded items examined fell under different food categories, such as breakfast cereal, yoghurts and potted desserts, chocolate, juice drinks and smoothies, cheese and bagged snacks.
Some brands included in the investigation include Pringles, Cathedral City, Babybel, Nestle’s KitKat, Cadbury’s Bitsa Wispa, Dairy Milk bars and Twirl Bites, as well as Mars’s M&Ms.
Which? unwrapped each item, weighed the packaging and separated them into “widely recyclable at kerbside, recyclable only at supermarket collection points and not easily recyclable” for its investigation.
The group took the help of experts from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap), and the On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) scheme for items not labelled.
The analysis comes at a time when the UK Government ban on single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds will begin next month.