Why We Need To Talk About Supermarkets & Recycling

produced by Lorenna Gomez-Sanchez; photographed by Martin Mendizabel.
As we become more conscious of the massive damage caused to the environment by our lifestyles, and strive to reduce our plastic consumption, it's also important to be aware of just how much we can and can't recycle.
But sadly, a new investigation by Which? suggests that nearly half of supermarket packaging isn't easily recyclable. The consumer rights organisation ordered a basket of 46 typical own-brand products from eleven of the UK's supermarkets and analysed how recyclable each individual piece of packaging was.
Overall, only 52% of supermarket packaging was found to be "easily recyclable", meaning it could be placed straight into a typical household recycling bin after use for kerbside collection.
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Tesco and Waitrose were found to use the highest amount of easily recyclable packaging: around 60 percent of packaging items at these supermarkets could be placed straight into a household recycling bin. Sainsbury's, M&S and Aldi all fared relatively well, too.
At the other end of the scale, Morrisons was found to use the least amount of easily recyclable packaging–just 39 percent. Check out how your supermarket fared below.
Which? defines "difficult-to-recycle" items as those "that need to be given special treatment to recycle or must be disposed of in general waste, such as plastic films, cardboard that is soiled with grease and non-stretchy plastic such as crisp packets". Between 40 and 50 percent of packaging at nearly every supermarket fell into this category.
Disappointingly, the investigation also found that only 58% percent of supermarket packaging was labelled with the correct recycling advice. "Supermarkets are sometimes getting this right," Which concluded, "but more needs to be done".
On a more positive note, next week's Glastonbury Festival has pledged to handle its plastic problem in a revolutionary new way, and innovative brands are now making recycled swimwear from plastic bottles.
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