Recycled content

DEFINITION: The portion of a product that is made from materials directed from the waste stream; usually stated as a percentage by weight.

See also: Circular economy

See also: Closed loop

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Pictured: Plastic pollution in Long Beach, California. Image: As You Sow

Report: Big-name brands failing to address plastic pollution crisis, despite improved pledges

A survey of 50 of the largest consumer-facing goods firms, including PepsiCo, Kraft Heinz and Kellogg, has found that companies are generally failing to take ambitious action on plastic pollution, despite lofty pledges to do so.

Image: Steve Morgan at WWF UK

WWF: Major consumer goods giants only sourcing 8% recycled plastics

McDonald's, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Keurig Dr Pepper and Procter & Gamble (P&G) collectively source 4.3 million metric tonnes of plastic annually, of which just 8% comes from recycled feedstocks.

The coronavirus pandemic has added additional strains on an already under-pressure sector

Coronavirus: Is this the beginning of the end for the 'self-sabotaging' meat sector?

The coronavirus could end up being the "straw that breaks the meat industry's back" with a new report warning that almost three-quarters of the world's largest meat, fish and dairy companies are at high risk from an array of criteria that could spark future pandemics.

Princes states that export PRNs (PERNs) are less transparent, due to a limited ability to ensure compliance outside of the UK

Princes commits to no export waste

Food and drink firm Princes has committed to ensuring that all of its packaging is recycled and handled solely by UK re-processors, rather than exporting the waste abroad, to gain more certainty that its packaging is recycled or dealt with appropriately.

The partnership will build on Ikea’s efforts to embrace the circular economy to date.

Ikea launches circular economy strategic partnership with Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Ikea is building on a commitment to becoming a fully circular business by 2030 by announcing a new strategic partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation that will focus on advocating for closed-loop home furnishing designs and methods to promote circular offers to customers.

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

Cathedral City launches UK-wide recycling scheme for cheese packaging

Cathedral City has partnered with TerraCycle to launch a UK-wide recycling scheme for its plastic cheese packaging, which is not currently collected by all local authorities at kerbside.

Flexible plastics account for a quarter of all UK consumer plastic packaging by weight, but just 4% is recycled

Cross-sector action needed to improve flexible plastics recycling

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Single-use plastic items have become symbolic of the pandemic

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The two companies believe that up to 30,000 tonnes of currently non-recyclable plastic could be treated annually

Viridor signs agreement on UK plastics chemical recycling initiative

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LG's solar arm targets carbon neutrality by 2030

LG Electronics' solar division has unveiled a new strategy of measures that will enable the business to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Last year, PepsiCo, Nestle Waters and Suntory Beverage & Food Europe all joined the consortium for a four-year term

Scientists report huge upswing in efficiency for enzyme-based plastic recycling solution

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H&M Group has pledged to become a "fully circular" business by 2030

H&M reaches clothing take-back target early, collecting 29,000 tonnes of used garments

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Surfdome found that the polybags only account for 5% of a garment’s overall carbon footprint. Image: Surfdome

Patagonia and Surfdome trial removal of plastic polybags for clothes

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Research by the University of Gloucestershire found that around 2.5 million prospectuses are printed in the UK by universities annually

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Earlier this year, Nestlé committed £1.59bn to source food-grade recycled plastics to be used in its packaging

Nestlé signs up to European Plastics Pact to push for 100% recyclable or reusable packaging

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Ball announced that it has been sourcing 100% renewable electricity for beverage operations in the UK, EU and Serbia since the start of the year

Ball Corporation achieves ASI certification and meets 100% renewables target

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Lidl GB has pledged that all own-brand plastics packaging will include a minimum of 50% recycled content by 2025

Lidl to use 'ocean-bound' plastics in seafood packaging

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The trials will explore how easy it is for baristas and customers to use the collection and drop off systems and how well the recovery of items is delivered

McDonald's and Starbucks back 'smart' reusable cup trials in California

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Helena Helmersson spent more than five years in H&M’s sustainability team before taking the helm as CEO

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Any waste beer produced that fails to meet the company’s quality standards will be distilled and turned into Vodka

BrewDog to upcycle and trade used cans for company equity

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The survey charts rising support for circular business models, but persistent barriers to scaling them up. Image: ING

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Colgate has confirmed that the toothpaste has been certified to EcoCert and Forest Stewardship Council standards

Colgate launches recyclable plastic toothpaste tube

Colgate Palmolive has launched a new vegan-friendly toothpaste range packaged in a first-of-its-kind recyclable plastic tube, with the technology set to be shared with competitor brands.

Homebase's contract with Reconomy will run for three years 

Homebase pledges zero-waste-to-landfill by 2021

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Hilton launches soap recycling initiative across UK hotels

Hilton is launching the largest UK initiative to recycle used soap and distribute 700,000 new bars to communities in need.

Nestle has said it would have liked to have moved sooner, but wanted to fully address challenges maintaining recyclability and high-quality food-grade status 

Nestle to use 100% recycled plastics in Buxton water bottles

Food and drink giant Nestle has revealed plans to make all plastics packaging across its Buxton water brand with 100% recycled content by 2021.

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The report authors are urging Ministers to speed up the introduction of new waste and resources legislation around carpets. Image: Reuse Warehouse/ CC BY 2.0 

Report: Carpet experiencing lower UK recycling and reuse rates than plastics

Green campaign groups are calling on the UK Government to implement stronger circular economy requirements around carpets, after research concluded that just 2% of the 130,000 tonnes sent to the industry's recycling body annually are recycled.

Premier Inn looks set to reduce the equivalent of another 13 Olympic-sized swimming pools of plastic just by removing the plastic wrapping from staff uniform

Whitbread to remove 'unnecessary' single-use plastics from premises by 2025

Hospitality firm Whitbread has pledged to rid all 800 of its UK hotels and restaurants of unnecessary single-use plastics by 2025, and has called on other UK firms to do the same.

The new packaging purports to be widely recyclable and to contain recycled content. Image: Morrisons 

Morrisons eliminates black plastics packaging

Morrisons has claimed it has completely removed hard-to-recycle black plastics from its own-brand ranges.

Kenny spoke on the need to balance consumer demands with scientific environmental considerations

Progress over perfection: Can McDonald's design its way out of single-use plastics?

McDonald's vice president of global sustainability Keith Kenny has claimed that the consumer-facing business needs to couple lifecycle analysis of its packaging with consumer demands in order to phase-out plastics in a secure way and without impacting customer experience.

The lidless McFlurrys feature foldable paper-based flaps on the existing packaging which create a new lid

McDonald's ditches plastic McFlurry and drinks lids across Europe

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The average lithium-ion EV battery has a lifespan of 15-20 years. Image: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

EV batteries could be 'huge waste mountain of the future', researchers warn

The development and industrialisation of recycling technologies for end-of-life electric vehicle (EV) batteries is currently being outpaced by a boom of EV uptake, paving the way for a "huge waste management problem" in decades to come.

The retailer claims that the removal of 5p carrier bags alone could save five tonnes of plastic annually, if scaled up nationally. Image: John Lewis & Partners.

John Lewis trials swathe of new recycling and reuse offerings

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The envelopes will now be offered in 110 Asda stores, up from 37. Image: Ella's Kitchen

Asda and Ella's Kitchen's baby food pouch recycling scheme goes national after trial success

Baby food brand Ella's Kitchen has unveiled plans to roll out its recycling scheme for packaging which isn't collected at kerbsides nationally, after a successful trial with Asda and TerraCycle.

Previous attempts to separate layers from flexible packaging have broadly resulted in the downgrading of the materials, decreasing their value. Image: Henkel

Henkel invests in recycling innovation for flexible plastics packaging

Consumer goods giant Henkel has invested in a startup that has developed a recycling technology for flexible plastics packaging which contains aluminium foil, such as crisp packets, juice pouches and single-use toiletry sachets.

The company’s service has grown in popularity over the last couple of years, with an average of £500,000 each week paid out as part of the trade-in service

O2 recycles three million mobile devices in a decade

Telecoms company O2 has received more than three million devices as part of a trade-in scheme to boost the recyclability of smartphones, a move that has stopped more than 450 tonnes of phone-related waste from going to landfill.

The campaign officially launched on Tuesday (22 October). Image: Hubbub

Food giants team up to fund Edinburgh's first on-street recycling infrastructure

On-street recycling infrastructure for food and drinks packaging has been installed in Edinburgh for the first time, as part of a campaign run by charity Hubbub and backed by businesses including McDonald's, Costa Coffee and Nestle.

More than 14.8 billion baby wipes are used in the UK every year, many of which end up in waterways, oceans and wastewater systems

Huggies to eliminate plastics from baby wipes and packaging

Kimberly-Clark-owned brand Huggies has pledged to eliminate plastics from its baby wipe range in the UK over the next five years and launch a portfolio next year that will allow consumers to return packaging to supermarkets to be recycled.

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Waitrose & Partners has calculated that the switch will mitigate the use of 18 tonnes of plastics annually. Image: Waitrose & Partners

Waitrose ditches plastic shrinkwrap for can multipacks

Waitrose & Partners has removed the plastic wrap from several of its best-selling multipacks of canned products, after consumers branded it "unnecessary".

TerraCycle has partnered with PZ Cussons to develop a recycling scheme for the refill pouches. 

PZ Cussons launches hand wash refills to slash plastics packaging

Healthcare and consumer goods giant PZ Cussons has launched its first hand wash refill offering, as it strives to reduce the amount of plastics used in its packaging by 25% by 2025.

Mainland Europe is one of the world's largest coffee-to-go markets, accounting for 30% of all annual sales globally

DS Smith to expand coffee cup recycling scheme following UK success

British packaging giant DS Smith has confirmed plans to launch its coffee cup recycling scheme in the Netherlands, following its success in the UK.

The pilot is currently only available in the US, and Lego will explore an expansion in 2020

Lego launches reuse platform for old plastic bricks

The Lego Group has announced the launch of a pilot programme that will see the company partner with recycling charity Give Back Box to enable consumers to donate old lego bricks to be redistributed to children's non-profits in the US.

Dulux Trade estimates that more than 700 million litres of paint are sold annually, with more than 55 million litres of waste paint sent to landfill or incinerated in the UK every year

Dulux Trade and Veolia partner to launch 35% recycled paint

Paint manufacturer Dulux Trade has launched a new partnership with Veolia UK to offer a new matt emulsion made from 35% recycled paint, which also produces 10% lower carbon emissions per litre.

E-waste is not just a resource problem - it is also a contributor to climate change, nature pollution and human health issues

Report: Electronic waste up 21% in 5 years, with $57bn dumped annually

A record 53.6 million metric tonnes of electronic waste (e-waste) was generated globally in 2019, with the waste stream having increased by more than one-fifth since 2014.

Between 2016 and 2018 UK paper cup recycling rates increased 16-fold Image: Pret

Pret extends shop floor cup recycling scheme to 350 UK stores

Pret has announced the expansion of its in-store coffee cup recycling scheme to more than 350 UK stores, following successful pilots in London, Leeds and Glasgow.

Matt has been overseeing circular economy initiatives at Dixons Carphone for three years

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Images: Kimberly-Clark/ SC Johnson

Kleenex debuts plastic-free tissue boxes as Mr Muscle unveils 100% 'ocean-bound' plastic bottle

Kleenex will remove the plastic opening from all tissue boxes by August 2020, parent firm Kimberly-Clark has announced in the same week that SC Johnson unveiled a Mr Muscle bottle made from 100% recycled plastic content.

The UK is currently off-track to meet the EU's waste from households recycling target of 50% by 2020.

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Burger King is approaching the phase-out with a take-back scheme, while McDonald's believes giving customers a choice is the best approach. Image: JKR

McDonald's, Burger King, begin phasing out plastic toys from kids' meals

Burger King has confirmed that it will no longer offer plastic toys with its King Junior Meals, in the same week that McDonald's has begun offering children the chance to swap their Happy Meal toys for a bag of fruit.

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The findings act as a snapshot of the public's plastic-related wants and needs 

In numbers: The UK public's attitudes to plastics recycling

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Littered PPE presents problems for public health and the environment

O2 to install PPE recycling boxes in stores

Telecoms giant O2 will begin collecting used personal protective equipment (PPE) at UK stores this month, as part of a new partnership with Terracycle.

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edie Leaders Clubs Membership Information

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Olivia started at Fashion Lab before joining Whitbread

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(L-R) Tideway team, Philip Sellwood, chief executive,
Energy Saving Trust (middle back) and compere
Michaela Strachan

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About half of the paper produced in Europe comes from recycled material, according to the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI)

EU paper recyclers 'in crisis' as China waste import ban bites

China's ban on waste imports has thrown Europe's paper recycling sector "in a crisis situation," leading to a chronic oversupply of recovered paper that sent prices plummeting by 300% over the past two years, according to trade group EuRIC.

As the plastic melts into the mix, there are no microplastics present

Willmott Dixon to use non-recyclable plastic in new roads at Bristol housing development

A new housing development in Bristol will feature roads made with the equivalent of 150,000 plastic bags of non-recyclable plastic waste originating from the construction phase of the scheme.

The reverse vending machines offer users a 10p discount coupon for every plastic bottle inserted

Iceland collects more than one million plastic bottles in reverse vending scheme

Iceland has captured and recycled more than one million plastic drinks bottles since it began offering reverse vending last May, the supermarket revealed today (22 August).

The Royal Society of Chemistry's chief executive Robert Barker, pictured with some of the redundant tech gathered by staff at the organisation’s Cambridge HQ during an amnesty

Hoarding old gadgets 'preventing circular economy shift' and 'spurring rare mineral shortages'

The fact that most UK households are hoarding old digital gadgets with no plans to recycle them is a key barrier to implementing circular economy principles for e-waste, the Royal Society of Chemistry has claimed.

Amazon's 'bubble-lined plastic bags' are not recyclable through kerbside collections in the UK

Amazon under fire for new packaging that cannot be recycled

Amazon has been criticised by environmental groups and customers after introducing a range of plastic packaging that cannot be recycled in the UK.

Recent PwC research found that AI could help reduce global emissions by up to 4% by 2030

Energy leaders urge government to back international AI climate centre

Leading voices from across the energy sector have this week called for the government to support the creation of an International Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy and Climate.

(L-R) Presenter Beth Knight, corporate responsibility director, EY, JPA Furniture’s Fiona Edwards and Chris Holder and compere Michaela Strachan

Meet the sustainability leader: Social Sustainability & Community Development - JPA Furniture

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M&S has a 36.5% market share for bras and already fits more than half of all women in the UK

M&S launches bra recycling campaign

Recycling of lingerie is now being encouraged by Marks and Spencer (M&S) under its new "love your boobs" campaign. 

Shifting away from plastic to other materials for single-use containers – such as cans, glass and cartons – will not resolve the problem, Green Alliance claims

Britain's single-use sustainability crisis extends far beyond plastic, says Green Alliance

Shifting materials for single-use containers away from plastic will not resolve the overall issue, according to a new infogaphic-based report from Green Alliance.

Razors and blades from any brand will be accepted for recycling

Gillette launches nationwide razor recycling scheme

Razor brand Gillette has launched what it claims is the UK's first nationwide recycling scheme for razors and blades, as part of a partnership with recycling firm TerraCycle.

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This weekly round-up explores how organisations across the world are ramping up efforts in all fields of sustainable development

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JLR will test the technology to produce parts for its I-PACE series 

JLR backs innovative recycling solution for 'low-grade' plastics

Carmaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has begun trials of an innovative new recycling technology which purports to turn low-quality, post-consumer plastics into high-grade material.

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