Another blog shouting about how you need to improve your recycling efforts? It must be Recycling Week.

From the ban on single-use plastics to Rishi Sunak’s U-turn on seven separate rubbish and recycling bins, we’re dodging new and changing rules left, right, and centre.

So, we’re talking with a packaging specialist on what the food and drink manufacturing industry can do. Interim talent Phil Newham shares his insights, tips, and guidance to improve packaging recycling.

1. Don’t believe everything you hear…

…unless you’re hearing it from us. ‘Greenwashing’ is the new enemy on the block – and businesses and consumers should avoid buying into false information. For instance, painting plastic as the bad guy is unhelpful and untrue. When made and recycled responsibly, plastic isn’t the worst packaging compared to others. 

Materials made up of different layers, like tetra packs (used for things like milk or juice) or crisp bags, can actually create greenhouse gases when breaking down. 

Sure, recycling is better than throwing these items away, but it’s not perfect – it still has some negative effects on the environment, but it’s better than doing nothing at all.

Beyond the environment, you also need to consider societal and financial issues. 

2. Are you following best practices?

The planet is a big place, and recycling best practices differ in every corner of the globe. For the most part, it completely depends on the materials (some are more complex than others), while legislation can also make a difference. Plus, societal behaviour has a significant impact – like how people use their recycling bins.

In the future, we might see legislation come into force to improve global recycling. For instance, ERP (Extended Producer Responsibility) means that the manufacturers will have to keep track of how waste is recycled and thrown away. The cost of collecting data will likely pass on to the customer. 

3. What are the experts saying?

More research and development is needed to advance some sustainability goals, particularly regarding CO2 emissions and water usage. 

And we need to understand LCA (life cycle analysis) to make the right decisions. Even seemingly eco-friendly alternatives, like replacing all packaging with cardboard, require a deeper understanding. In some cases, such a move could create four times as much waste in terms of mass.

4. Play your part in packaging

The food and drink manufacturing industry has a big role to play – and choosing specially-designed packaging can improve recyclability. And you don’t have to make huge changes. Coca-Cola has made small steps to make recycling easier – their redesigned bottles now have a new top that’s fixed to the bottom to recycle it in one piece rather than two.

Don’t wait till Recycling Week 2024…

…get started now! If you need help finding talent to recycle more responsibly and meet sustainability goals, Silven can support you. Speak to our consultants on 0161 832 7463 or email