Asda, TerraCycle and Ella’s Kitchen launch baby food pouch recycling scheme

Consumers can send up to 15 food pouches to TerraCycle at a time

Ella’s Kitchen, the UK’s largest baby food brand and certified B Corp, has been working with TerraCycle since 2010 on a UK recycling solution of baby food pouches. More than 400 public drop-off points have been created in the UK for the pouches to be sent to TerraCycle to be recycled.

In a bid to double the number of pouches recycled nationwide by 2021, the two firms have launched a six-month pilot that will see Freepost envelopes provided at 37 stores. Consumers can place up to 15 food pouches from any brand in the envelopes, which are then posted to TerraCycle to be recycled into new and useful items like benches and fence posts.

Ella’s Kitchen’s head Mark Cuddigan said: “Our pouches are great in so many ways, they’re lightweight, convenient and they keep our yummy organic food tasty and safe for little ones. But our big challenge is that they are not currently accepted for recycling by local councils in the UK.

“We want to change this and that’s why we’re proud to have partnered with Asda to offer a new way for parents and carers to recycle all of their baby food pouches through our EllaCycle program.”

Ella’s Kitchen’s solution is a welcome step to recycle food and drinks pouches that are not usually accepted in recycling collections. Fellow baby food brand Little Freddie has a similar initiative in place with British firm Enval. Little Freddie provides a free recycling bag for each online purchase and 15 pouches can be sent to Enval at a time. The aluminium is used again and the plastic recycled into oil that can be used as fuel. The gas by-product of the process is used to power the Enval plant.

Ella’s Kitchen and Asda are both members of The UK Plastics Pact. The Pact includes signatories from more than 100 organisations, including businesses that are responsible for more than 80% of the plastic packaging on products sold in UK supermarkets.

Last month, Asda revealed that it had removed 6,500 tonnes of plastic from its own brand packaging over the last 12 months, the equivalent weight of around 600 million empty plastic bottles.

The 6,500-tonne reduction was a milestone target set by Asda and is a welcome step towards a goal to make all its packaging 100% recyclable by 2025.

Asda’s senior buying manager – baby, Raj Varma, said: “We’re looking at all parts of the Asda business for ways to reduce our plastic footprint, make what packaging we do need more recyclable and help our customers to dispose of their packaging in the right way. We hope this trial will provide a simple way for our customers to recycle packaging that currently cannot be recycled through their local council recycling.”

Reign of Terra

As for TerraCycle, this move is the latest in a long line of business-focused partnerships aimed at collecting and recycling hard-to-recycle materials.

The firm has launched recycling schemes across 21 countries to date, which collectively engage around 80 million people. These initiatives have diverted more than 55 million items from landfill.

In the UK, TerraCycle has forged new partnerships with Mars PetcareColgate PalmoliveKellogg Acuvue in recent months, launching schemes targeting pet food packaging, oral healthcare products, Pringles cans and contact lenses.

TerraCycle is also working with Pepsico subsidiary Walkers to run the UK’s first nationwide collection scheme for crisp packets, and this week revealed that more than 500,000 packets have been collected since December 2018. 

More recently, the company partnered with plastic six-pack ring producer Hi-Cone to launch the UK’s first national recycling scheme for the packaging.

TerraCycle’s founder Tom Szaky added: “Ella’s Kitchen was one of TerraCycle’s pioneering brand partners to launch a recycling solution for packaging that is not accepted by council recycling schemes in the UK.

“We’re incredibly excited that this partnership has evolved to include Asda and we hope many more brands will follow suit in taking responsibility for their packaging and invest in new ways to recycle their packaging.”

TerraCycle at edie Live 2019 

TerraCycle Europe’s general manager Laure Cucuron will be appearing at edie Live in May to chair a panel discussion on how businesses of all sizes and sectors can lead the transition to a resource-efficient economy. 

Taking place at the NEC in Birmingham on 21-22 May, the two-day show – edie’s biggest event of the year – is a highlight of the calendar for sustainability, energy and environment professionals alike. The show will play host to presentations and debates from high-level speakers across three stages, 1:1 advice clinics and an EV showroom, as well as a new dedicated Plastics Hub and a Future Systems Hackathon. 

For full event information and to register for free attendance, click here

Matt Mace

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