Cathedral City launches UK-wide recycling scheme for cheese packaging

Information on how to use the scheme will be provided online and on-pack. Image: TerraCycle

Under the scheme, consumers will be encouraged to bring their cheese packaging to their nearest drop-off point. Points are based at places like community centres, local shops and offices.

Once packaging is dropped off, it is posted to TerraCycle for washing, shredding and melting into pellets or flakes. This material can then be used to create new, durable plastic products like waste bins. The process is free for consumers and for collection point administrators.

There are currently 10 collection points live in the UK, given that the scheme went live today (14 July). Individuals, businesses and community organisations are being encouraged to host collection points themselves to ensure more material is captured.

Cathedral City notably has a 2022 target of ensuring that all of its packaging is recyclable, despite the fact that plastic cheese film is widely regarded as hard-to-recycle. The packaging format is flexible and low-density, meaning it is considered low-value, and is made up of multiple layers to extend shelf life and prevent contamination.

“Without a standard recycling solution in the industry, consumers are unsure what they can recycle and where,” Saputo Dairy UK’s marketing director Lee Willett said.

“The new partnership with TerraCycle aims to address this confusion, making it quick and easy for people to recycle their packaging at a local collection point… the nation’s favourite cheese should never go to waste and neither should its packaging.”

The TerraCycle scheme will accept packaging from all cheese brands. To encourage participation from Cathedral City consumers, Saputo Dairy UK is adding new on-pack recycling information and has created a dedicated page on its website.

Take-back boom

The past two years have seen TerraCycle launch a vast swathe of recycling initiatives in the UK in partnership with businesses.

BootsHovisElla’s KitchenMars PetcareColgate Palmolive, Hasbro and Kellogg are among TerraCyle’s partner businesses in the UK. TerraCycle is also behind the UK’s first recycling scheme for crisp packets, hosted in conjunction with Walkers. The scheme, launched after pressure from green groups and consumerscollected 500,000 crisp packets within its first three months of operation.

There were fears that TerraCycle would lose much business as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with the facilities playing host to many of its drop-off points closing, recycling facilities implementing social distancing measures and public concerns around the hygiene aspects of reusing and recycling increasing. However, the firm has pivoted to place more of a focus on take-backs via post and has also developed a recycling service for PPE. 

The launch of TerraCycle’s partnership with Cathedral City comes in the same week that WRAP issued new guidance on improving flexible plastics recycling in the UK. The body, which leads the UK Plastics Pact, has warned that corporates may not be able to reach their packaging commitments unless a new collection and recycling system – supported by central Government – is developed for soft flexible plastics.

Plastic-Free July Podcast 

edie readers with an interest in plastics and packaging are encouraged to listen to the latest episode of the Sustainable Business Covered podcast, which is a special edition for Plastic-Free July 2020. 

The episode sees experts from HP, Pernod Ricard, Surfers Against Sewage and A Plastic Planet provide insight on how plastics ambitions and actions are changing due to Covid-19, and what the future of the plastics discussion will look like as we emerge into the ‘new normal’. Listen for free here. 

Sarah George

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