Beanz Meanz Recycling: Heinz and Tesco unite in soft plastic recycling trial

Fully recyclable Heinz Beanz Snap Pots will soon hit shelves as part of a pioneering trial by the food giant and supermarket Tesco designed to make it easier to process previously hard to recycling plastics.

Heinz is to use soft plastics returned to Tesco stores by its customers to create recyclable Heinz Beanz Snap Pots made with 39 per cent recycled soft plastics, following worked with the retailer and a team of specialists.

The trial is set to begin in July and the firms said they hoped it would lead to an “important change across the wider food industry when it comes to tackling the UK’s soft plastic recycling challenge”.

Tesco started collecting soft plastic in all its large stores in 2021 to help plug a long-standing gap in the UK’s recycling collection services, which typically reject various soft plastics. Once collected by Tesco, as much of the material as possible is recycled into new products and packaging.

“This innovative collaboration is one of the ways that soft plastic returned to stores by our customers will be recycled into new food-grade packaging,” said Sarah Bradbury, Tesco’s group quality director. “After doing everything we can to remove and reduce plastic, we want to develop circular recycling solutions like this so the materials we use stay in our packaging and out of the environment.”

Heinz said the partnership would initially recycle 22 tons of plastic, while still offering shoppers the convenience of microwave cooking. The latest trial supports Heinz’s global pledge to aim to make 100 per cent of its packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025, the company said.

“The new packaging gives our consumers an easy way to reduce their impact on the environment without having to give up the convenience of their favorite Heinz Beanz in a microwavable pot,” said Jojo de Noronha, president for Northern Europe at Heinz. “What’s more, knowing that this type of plastic can now be made into useful food-grade packaging like our Snap Pots could encourage more people to drop it off at their local collection point until more permanent recycling infrastructure for these materials is put in place, rather than adding them to landfill.”

The recycled plastic used in the ‘snappable’ pots is certified by the ISCC. Soft plastics, which are often used in packaging for bread, snacks, and crisps, have historically been difficult to recycle. They play an important role in the preservation of food and reducing food waste but they are rarely collected for recycling by councils due to limited recycling capacity for the material. As a result, in 2020 just six per cent of UK soft plastics were being recycled.

The latest announcement was welcomed by Resources and Waste Minister Jo Churchill, who said: “It is great to see Heinz and Tesco working together to trial packaging to boost recycling levels. Businesses across the UK are stepping up to tackle plastic pollution and we want to incentivise them to do so.Through our landmark Environment Act, we are also making it easier for consumers to recycle more.”

Earlier this week, a report by the OECD think tank warned plastic waste is on track to triple by 2060 with recycling capacity and circular economy policies failing to keep pace with still surging global demand for plastics.

Research published by the influential organization argued that without “radical action” to curb plastic demand, extend plastic product lifespans and improve waste management and recyclability, plastic waste is set to soar from 460 million tons in 2019 to 1,23 million tons by 2060. predicts that based on current trends by 2060 around half of plastic waste will still be dumped in landfill with less than a fifth recycled.

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