The recycling, reuse and disposal of food packaging materials: a UK perspective
The environmental issues associated with food packaging are of concern to the consumer. Pressure groups within the UK are influential and large supermarket chains are becoming involved in the issues of recycling by the placement of collection containers outside their stores. However, as has been observed with certain materials, collection costs can be far greater than the potential market for these materials.
The consumer perception of what packaging does for the product andhow it can be recycled varies depending on the understanding of theenvironmental problem by the consumer.
Within the UK there have been a large number of public initiatives relating to the recycling, reuse and disposal of packaging, such as RECOUP, Save-A-Can and others. Food packaging contributes approximately 66% to the waste stream and potentially creates the biggest problem regarding recycling.
Legislation is being proposed both on a national basis and on an ECwide basis which will have an effect on use, packaging, the environment,and inter-community trade.
The food industry is being pushed into making decisions regarding recycling of food packaging based on insufficient information supplied by different sectors of the packaging industry. The potential of ‘life cycle analysis’ properly co-ordinated should be able to aid the ‘environmental’ impact of packaging and guide industry towards making the correct decision.
KeywordsMunicipal Solid Waste Food Packaging Recycle Material Life Cycle Analysis Waste Paper
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