The most well-liked manufacturers are tough to recycle

The results show that more than 80% of functional packaging cannot be thrown into household waste containers.

Since many consumers are very interested in recycling, this information may also be important to them.

WWF Australia's survey shows that:

  • 16 products (19.5%) were completely roadside recyclable
  • 45 (55%) need to bring some items to a collection point
  • 21 (25.5%) are currently difficult to collect and recycle, with many examples of over-packaging and poor packaging design.

"Our favorite products create a mountain of rubbish that cannot end up in household rubbish bins," says Katinka Day, manager for No Plastics in Nature Policy at WWF Australia.

“Our survey found that many cases of food packaging could not be recycled at all. Brands should do better as recyclable alternatives are available.

"We need stricter rules to avoid unnecessary plastic packaging and to ensure that packaging can actually be recycled at home."

Divided into categories

Six categories of foods that use packaging were analyzed – cookies and crackers, breakfast cereals, yogurt, confectionery, fries, and cheese.

Products from the best-selling brands were surveyed from these categories.

The WWF says cookies and crackers were among the worst offenders. None of the products examined could be fully recycled at home. This category was also prone to over-packaging.

On the positive side, Uncle Toby's Oats uses a single carton for grain and displays clear recycling information.

There were also a range of tub, lids, and foil yogurts that could all be recycled at home, including chobani yogurt and yoplait strawberry yogurt.

Another good news from this survey is that almost half of the products examined use the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL). Here, consumers learn how to properly dispose of each item.

Private label products from Woolworths and Coles have the highest usage of the ARL.

"My advice to individuals is 'check it out before you throw it in' as the label will help you choose the right container for your package," said Ryan Collins, director of circular economy programs at Planet Ark.

You can find more information about the survey here.

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