Who said crisp packets and plastic film weren’t recyclable?

By Louis Swan, Product and Innovation Executive, Paper Round

Running a sustainable business can be a challenge. Few know this better than those who work in restaurants, cafés and hotels. Even with great strides in recent years in reducing the amount of single-use plastics in food and utensil packaging, the pandemic has caused a fresh waste crisis for the hospitality industry.

With the public hyper-aware of their health, demand for disposable gloves, masks, food packaging and even table sauce sachets has soared. These often don’t fit easily into a standard suite of recycling streams and raise questions about what happens to them once they’ve been used. In many cases, conventional disposables don’t have a good quality recycling option. This is due to a combination of mixed materials, food contamination and low value materials. Sadly, this means they are often sent for incineration or landfill.

We see this new waste crisis in the news and notice it in our own waste collections from customers. But never one to shy away from a challenge, we’ve devised a unique solution:

Introducing … SustainABLE Box

Created to capture many of these disposable, hard-to-recycle items, our service will give them a new life by recycling them using our network of trusted and vetted service partners. 

Whether it’s: food packaging such as crisp packets, empty sachets, cup lids or plastic film; snack wrappers given to customers; or your employees’ face masks or soap dispensers, SustainABLE Box will help you significantly reduce your waste.

How does SustainABLE work?

  • We’ll do the hard work for you – we’ll send you a box (or SustainABLE sack) and a unique material sticker, then collect directly from your workplace or allocated pick up point, making our service convenient to use.
  • No smoke and mirrors – we’ll tell you where your materials end up and what their new life looks like. You can even buy back some of these materials in a closed loop!
  • SustainABLE Box helps you do your bit for the planet – increasing your recycling rates and reducing your general waste production. It also helps to lower your carbon emissions, by diverting tricky plastics from energy-from-waste.

What goes in SustainABLE Box?

We have a growing list of materials that can go in our SustainABLE Box:

  • Coffee pods (plastic and aluminium)
  • Crisp packets
  • Snack wrappers
  • PPE
  • Corks
  • Stationery
  • Cup lids
  • Plastic toiletries
  • Plastic film
  • Print cartridges

For the best recycling outcomes, we collect the items listed above separately in individual boxes or sacks. Alternatively, you can opt for ‘flexible plastics’, where you can recycle crisp packets, wrappers and plastic film in one.

What happens to your materials?

Behind the scenes we’ve been busy liaising with several re-processors around the country to find the perfect partners to recycle with. We won’t settle for anything but the best.

For example:

  • Tricky plastics like film, crisp packets and cup lids will be transformed into a weatherproof and recyclable alternative to plywood. Useful in buildings and construction, you can buy this material back from us in a closed loop to use in your own building.
  • Coffee capsules will be split into their component parts – the metal recycled, and the coffee grounds sent for anaerobic digestion.

So, what are you waiting for?

All hospitality businesses, big or small will create tricky materials without a home. We all need to play our part in reducing emissions and increasing recycling rates to overcome the climate crisis. And SustainABLE Box will help you do just that.

Contact us today to order your first SustainABLE Box.

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