food packaging greener future

What Food Packaging Can Be Recycled?

With the growing demand for sustainability to help the environment, recycling has never been more important in the UK. In terms of recyclable materials (particularly for UK households), there’s one category that tops the list: food packaging.

From pet food containers to bread bags, the average family goes through an ample amount of food packaging on a weekly basis. This is why it’s imperative for households to reduce food waste, properly dispose of packaging, and ultimately reduce their environmental impact.

Preparation is key

Before knowing what type of food and drink packaging is recyclable, The first step is understanding how the recycling process works from your perspective.

A recycling bin at home is the first step. This allows you to keep recyclable materials separate from general waste, ensuring they go to the right destination for processing. If you haven’t yet got a bin, check with your local council to request one. Local authorities will also direct you to collection points.

Now it’s time to gain a firm grasp on what you can – and cannot – place in these recycling bins.

Plastic food packaging

Perhaps the most confusing aspect of recyclable food packaging revolves around plastic. There are various types of plastic around. Some will be accepted by your local council, whereas others are not suitable for collection.

As a guideline, below is a quick look at plastic film types that are approved for recycling (though you will have to check whether they are collected from homes, large supermarkets generally have recycling points for all of these):

  • Carrier bag
  • Cereal plastic bag
  • Bread bag
  • Freezer bag
  • Plastic wrap used for plastic bottles/can multipacks

Now here are examples of film that isn’t suitable when you recycle plastic:

  • Food tray film lid
  • Cling film
  • Food/drink pouch
  • Crisp packet
  • All non-Polyethylene films (PVC, PP, etc.)

Of course, this is just a look at plastic films from a packaging perspective. The likes of single use plastic and plastic straw options should also be avoided when possible.


From soup to sardines, metal cans and tins are used to store a wide assortment of food products. It’s also vital you include these in your recycling drive. Most metal packaging is constructed with aluminium, a material that can be recycled again and again without its quality being diminished.

When recycling canned packaging, just remember to rinse them thoroughly to remove any lingering foodstuffs.

Pizza boxes: yes or no?

In general, cardboard packaging is a big ‘Yes’ when it comes to recycling. Coffee cups, sleeves, container boxes – all of these should be thrown into your recycling box. However, there’s one notable exception to the general rule: pizza boxes.

The reason: the box is contaminated by oil that originates from the pizza it contains. This may seem like a minor point, but the oil sticks around when the cardboard is pulped – and this ruins the finished recycled product.

Changes for the better

To further improve your recycling efforts, you may decide to make a few lifestyle changes. This is particularly important if you operate a business. For instance, say you’re a café that currently uses single use plastic cups. In this situation, you’ll want to switch to recyclable cups that can be popped into a recycling bin once used.

With just a few small changes, you can make a big difference for the planet.

Make the change now!

Get in touch and see how we can help you be greener with your takeaway food packaging. Request a catalogue or further info on 0121 289 4295 or alternatively email [email protected].

500 x 500 food packaging


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