Forget Bottle Lids, Pringles and Lucozade are the Real Nemeses of Recycling Centre

By Tom Pritchard on at

Some councils can be notoriously fussy about what can and can not go into the recycling bins. Especially mine, which doesn't allow glass or plastic packaging. But now we know who the real villains of your local recycling centre: Pringles cans and Lucozade Sport bottles.

Simon Ellis, chief executive of the Recycling Association, has called for companies to start paying attention to their packaging - specifically moving away from the "idiotic" Pringles tube model. According to him the distinctive packaging is a good example of not considering the environment when designing product packaging.

While UK's packaging industry has apparently made a lot of progress in recent years, he criticised Pringles' use of a cardboard tube with a metal base and plastic lid. "The Pringles factor - right at the design stage, we've got to get that right. What we're putting in our recycling bins has got to be recyclable. We've got to get away from the Pringles factor."

The Recycling Association also criticised Lucozade Sports bottles, since they confuse computer sensors and after being hand-picked from the conveyor belt they often get thrown away.

A spokesperson for Pringles said:

"We take our responsibilities to the planet we all share seriously and are continuously working to improve our environmental performance. All parts of a Pringles can act as a barrier to protect the chips from environmental contamination and to keep them fresh. The freshness of our chips means a longer shelf life, which minimises food waste."

Meanwhile a Lucozade Ribena Suntory  spokesperson said:

“We take our responsibility to the environment seriously and on Lucozade Sport in the last year we reduced the weight of the bottle by 3g, which equates to an annual saving of 540 tonnes of plastic. As with the rest of our drinks produced at our Coleford factory, the Lucozade Sport bottles are blown on-site to limit our carbon footprint and they are all recyclable. We recognise our responsibility to limit our impact on the environment and welcome any technological breakthroughs that support this ambition.”

But as my local council loved to tell me, just because something can be recycled doesn't mean it will be. Because not recycling common plastic makes a whole load of sense, especially when the same council talks about how much it wants to reduce the amount of waste it sends to landfill.

So if you're environmentally conscious, make sure to avoid the Pringles and the Lucozade. And, if you can, move somewhere where the council actually gives a damn about recycling everything it can. [London Evening Standard]

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