As it stands, local UK councils lack the infrastructure required to recycle Ella’s Kitchen’s baby food pouches.
This is a major concern for the UK-headquartered baby food brand, which earlier this year pledged to make 100% of its packaging widely recyclable by 2024.
“Our pouches are…lightweight, convenient, and they keep our yummy organic food tasty and safe for little ones,” Chris Jenkins, who heads up Ella’s Kitchen’s The Good Stuff We Do initiative, told FoodNavigator.
“But a big challenge is that our pouches are not currently accepted for recycling kerbside by local councils in the UK.”
To address this sustainability issue, Ella’s Kitchen and British supermarket retailer Asda have collaborated with post-consumer waste-focused TerraCycle to trial a six-month pilot recycling service.
“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.” – Tom Szaky, founder of TerraCycle
The scheme, which has rolled out in 37 Asda stores across both cities and smaller towns in the UK, offers consumers Freepost envelopes.
Shoppers are asked to fill the envelopes with up to 15 baby food pouches, before posting them to TerraCycle. The used pouches are then recycled into practical items such as benches and fence posts.
Outside of Asda, Ella’s Kitchen has also set up more than 400 public drop-off points where consumers can leave their used pouches to be recycled by TerraCycle.
Moving forward, ‘there needs to be more collaboration’
The announcement follows Ella’s Kitchen’s commitment to double the number of pouches recycled by 2021, which falls under the firm’s ‘The Good Stuff We Do’ report published earlier this year.
Asda has also pledged to increase its sustainable packaging commitments with plans to make all of its packaging 100% recyclable by 2025. The retailer recently announced it had met its 2018 goal of removing 5,600 tonnes of plastic from its own brand packaging within a year.
“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,” said Raj Varma, Asda’s senior buying manager for baby goods.
“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.”
When asked what needs to happen for Ella’s Kitchen’s pouches to be recycled by local councils, Jenkins responded: “There needs to be more collaboration. That’s why with Asda, we’re proud to be members of the UK Plastics Pact.
“Managed by sustainability experts WRAP, it brings together businesses from across the entire plastics value chain with UK governments and NGOs who are committed to transforming the UK’s plastic system.”
WRAP CEO Marcus Gover said he supported Ella’s Kitchen and Asda’s initiative and looks forward to hearing the outcome of the trial.