The product looks luxurious or the packaging is nice and easy for the customer. These are two important causes that hinder the reuse of many plastic packaging. In practice, no less than two-thirds of supermarket packaging is limited or even impossible to recycle.
According to a study published Wednesday by Nature & Environment all seven supermarkets surveyed underperform, with Ekoplaza and Jumbo performing worse than average. Lidl and Albert Heijn actually score better.
The mediocre sector figures are partly attributable to A-brands. They use sustainable packaging less often. But according to Natuur & Milieu, the supermarkets also score below average with their own private labels.
The supermarket chains have two years ago the ‘Plastic Pact’ signed that aims to use only easily recyclable packaging by 2025. According to Natuur & Milieu, the stores are not on track to achieve this target in four years.
For the study, 57 commonly used products were purchased from Albert Heijn, Jumbo, Plus, Coop, Aldi, Lidl and Ekoplaza chains. Their results show that the majority of products (52 percent) have limited recyclability, often because the packaging contains multiple types of plastic. In practice, this means that this material returns in a ‘lower-grade’ application, for example as a roadside bollard or as plastic filling material.
While 35 percent of the packaging can be recycled, 13 percent turns out not to be suitable for reuse at all. This material ends up in the incinerators and so does some of the material that has limited recyclability. The demand for low-quality plastic is simply limited.
Ecoplaza and Jumbo
In a response, Ekoplaza indicates that the comparison with other chains is flawed because fewer products have been examined at the organic supermarket. Instead of 57 products with plastic packaging, Ekoplaza has 43 pieces, which is also stated in the study. “That makes quite a difference,” he writes the chain on its site. According to Ekoplaza, the other products are often sold without packaging or in, for example, glass.
Jumbo, which also underperforms in the investigation, did not respond to the investigation on Wednesday. A detergent product from this chain is used in the research as an illustration of why recycling often goes wrong in practice. The bottle is made of highly recyclable polyethylene (PE), but has a label in the form of a jacket made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). That combination is then not properly detected by the sorting machine.
More than a quarter of the problems are caused by these types of easy-to-solve problems. Convenience also often causes problems. Take, for example, that fine cap on sauce bottles. This often contains silicones that make recycling more difficult.
#Research #twothirds #supermarket #packaging #partially #recyclable