Bread is the staple of life, an essential ingredient in every household – but what about the packaging?
Most bread is wrapped in plastic and according to Recoup, only one in ten local authorities currently recycle those bags. The plastic film used in bread packaging can be hard to separate from rigid plastics together with the contamination levels involved. Around 3.5 billion bread bags were being incinerated every year. Brand leader Hovis is setting out to provide a more sustainable, environmentally friendly two-pronged solution.
Firstly, all Hovis bread is now being packed in 100% LDPE (low-density polyethene) recyclable bags. After use, customers can dispose of the bags within the plastic bag collection points to be found within most major supermarkets.
Improved labelling will enable consumers to identify the recyclability of bread bags. Research commissioned by Hovis before setting up the scheme discovered that one-third of consumers were unaware that LDPE bags can be recycled. The new clearer labelling should make this much easier in future.
Dedicated Bread Bag Recycling Points
Secondly, Hovis is working with TerraCycle Europe to set up a Bread Bag Recycling Programme involving a nationwide network of easily accessible bread bag recycling points.
Under the scheme, consumers can register as private collectors. This enables them to collect the bags at home and return them using free postage labels. Alternatively, they can take the bread bags to dedicated collection points. These community collection points are listed on the TerraCycle website.
If consumers live in an area where there is no dedicated collection point, they can set up and administer their own community facility perhaps at a school or community centre. The organizer of the collection facility nominates a school, charity or non-profit organization to benefit from the resultant reward points.
An added advantage is that the scheme is not limited just to Hovis brand bags – any LDPE plastic bread bag can be sent for recycling via the collection points. The bread bags are shredded at recycling points and converted into pellets and flakes before being used to make recycled products such as outdoor tables and chairs, playground equipment or public benches.
Nish Kankiwala, Hovis chief executive commented, “We’re delighted to launch this initiative with TerraCycle to improve the ease of recycling used bread bags and, as a result, cut the amount of plastic entering the waste stream. Given the increasing public concern and debate about the level of un-processed plastic waste, we hope this will help as part of the wider efforts to boost recycling of plastics.”
An innovative recycling company which has become a global leader in finding ways to recycle hard to recycle waste, TerraCycle Europe believe that these new initiatives will help to change consumer behaviour and encourage people to recycle used bread bags. Laure Cucuron, general manager for TerraCycle Europe points out that “Hovis is helping to lead the agenda for the bread industry and we hope to see more brands and industries making moves in the same direction.”