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Recycling company Yeovil

Nearly 50% of supermarket packaging not easily recyclable

24 June 2019

A recent Which? survey has revealed that just 52% of the packaging used in the UK’s top supermarkets can be easily put in household recycling.

Researchers looked at own-brand packaging - including cardboard, glass and plastics - for 46 of the most popular food items from leading chains like M&S, Aldi, Waitrose, Morrisons, Co-op, Tesco and Asda. The researchers concluded that 48% of packaging was not considered easily recyclable for consumers. 

Morrisons was the worst offender, as Which? discovered that 61% of the packaging examined was found to be difficult to recycle. Alternatively, Tesco and Waitrose came out on top – only 40% of their packaging was not easily recyclable.

42% of supermarket packaging incorrectly labelled

The study also concluded that 42% of the total packaging reviewed was incorrectly labelled with recycling indicators or not even labelled at all. Iceland was found to be the worst at labelling their products according to the sample reviewed, with only 38% of packaged goods correctly labelled. For example, easy peeler oranges that are stored in a plastic, non-recyclable net were totally unlabelled.

Natalie Hitchins, head of home products and services at Which?, had this to say about the survey’s findings:

“To reduce the waste that goes to landfill, the government must make labelling mandatory, simple and clear as well as invest in better infrastructure to ensure that recycling is easy for everyone, regardless of where they live.”

Some leading supermarkets have argued that organic waste results in a much larger carbon footprint than plastic, and that plastic packaging plays an important role in extending the lifespan of certain products.

However, researchers were surprised with how much variation there was between supermarket brands when it came to very similar products, with some using recyclable packaging and others neglecting to.


We are an experienced team of recycling specialists based in Dorset and Oxfordshire. For more information about our recycling services, or for further advice on how we can help with waste disposal and rubbish collections for your home or business, contact our team on 01202 675564.

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