Most popular brands, difficult to recycle

Concerning findings show that more than 80% of feature packaging cannot be put into home recycling bins.

With many consumers showing great interest in recycling, it’s information that may be concerning to them also.

The survey by WWF-Australia shows that:

  • 16 products (19.5%) were entirely kerbside recyclable
  • 45 (55%) must have some elements taken to a collection point
  • 21 (25.5%) are currently difficult to collect and recycle, with many examples of over-packaging and bad packaging design.

“Our favourite products are creating a mountain of rubbish that can’t go into home recycling bins,” says WWF-Australia’s No Plastics in Nature Policy Manager, Katinka Day.

“Our survey found many cases of food packaging could not be recycled at all. Brands should be doing better because recyclable alternatives are available.

“We need stronger rules to stop unnecessary plastic packaging and ensure that packaging can actually be recycled at home.”

Broken down into categories

Six categories of food that use packaging, were analysed – biscuits and crackers, breakfast cereals, yoghurt, confectionery, chips and cheeses.

From these categories, products from the top-selling brands were surveyed.

The WWF says that biscuits and crackers were among the worst offenders. None of the surveyed products could be entirely recycled at home. This category was also prone to over-packaging.

On a positive note, for cereals, Uncle Toby’s Oats uses a single cardboard box and displays clear recycling information.

There were also a number of yoghurts with tubs, lids and foil that could all be recycled at home, including Chobani Yoghurt and Yoplait Strawberry Yoghurt.

Additional good news that has come from this survey is that almost half of the surveyed products, use the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL). It tells consumers how to correctly dispose of each item.

Woolworths and Coles private label products have the highest use of the ARL.

“My advice to individuals is to ‘check it, before you chuck it’ because the label will help you choose the right bin for your packaging,” says Head of Circular Economy Programs at Planet Ark, Ryan Collins.

For more details on the survey, click here.