Ocado and Co-op lead successful compostable packaging trial

The Compostable Coalition UK and its advisory members Ocado, M&S and WWF, have reported a five-fold increase in consumers adding compostable packaging to their food waste bins following a new trial.

The six-week trial involved 120 households in Medway, Kent, who were told they could throw their compostable packaging in their food and garden waste bins.

Advice on this matter can vary between local authorities, as it is not currently a national mandate in the UK.

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As reported by Packaging Europe each household received boxes containing confectionery, snack food, fresh produce, tea bags, coffee pods, and shopping bags from Co-op, Ocado, Lipton Teas, and other brands.

The products were packaged in both plastic and compostable materials, with the latter identified by newly-developed labels from Hubbub and OPRL.

Participants were also provided with other educational resources designed by Hubbub and the University of Sheffield. These explained the composting process and encouraged residents to check packaging labels and use their food waste bins more.

Contamination levels in food and garden waste bins decreased from an average of 9% to 3% by the end of the trial and 23% more food waste was added to the bins.

The results suggest that clear communication and labelling can help consumers identify and correctly dispose of compostable packaging.

Ocado Retail senior packaging and sustainability manager Laura Fernandez said: “We were delighted to participate in this trial which has delivered such positive results. Ocado remains committed to continued collaboration with the industry to determine the role compostable packaging can play in the circular economy, especially when supported by an effective collection, sorting and recycling infrastructure.”

Circular economyFood and farmingMaterials and packagingNewsRetail

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