“Is it recyclable?” Episode 3: CRISP PACKETS

They’re shiny and look like foil, but they’re metallised plastic. The typical snack chip bagismade from up to seven layers of foil and plastic joined together using an industrial adhesive. These bags are light and provide convenience in transportation and storage. They have improved barrier properties to moisture, oils, air, and odors, and are graphics friendly.

The downside is that this multi-materialstructure it is NOT currently recycled.

An easy way to find out if an item is foil or metallised plastic film, is to do the scrunch test. Simply scrunch the item in your hand – if it remains ‘scrunched’ it is foil and can be recycled; if it springs back it is probably metallised plastic film and not recyclable.

Table 1 – Crisp packet recyclability in 5 Local Authorities across UK

Country Council Which bin/bag/box Note
England London Westminster NO recycling bag Aluminium foil and foil trays can be recycled with your mixed recycling. Please note crisp packets and other foil-like films cannot be recycled; they need to go in with your household rubbish.
England Oxford green bin or lilac sac not recyclable
Scotland Edimburgh Communal bins NO in packaging bin, NO in mixed recycling one, NO in paper one. it’s not recyclable
Individual bins NO in green wheelie
Wales Cardiff red striped bag or black bin Crisp packets cannot be recycled as they are made from mixed materials
Northern Ireland Belfast Black bin it’s not recyclable

This is the end of our third short story on waste materials. We hope that you found it informative.

A final note. Just in England, there are 350 Local Authorities collecting household waste. Waste devolution usually brings a lack of consistency in the materials accepted for recycling across Boroughs and this create confusion.

Would recycling be easier, if you could rely on a mobile app that given your location will let you know which one is the right bin for each item? Click here to know something more about it.

If you want other info, send us an email: info@waytoeco.com.

Thank you!

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