The distinctive Pringles tube is being redesigned after criticism that it is nearly impossible to recycle.
The current container for potato-based snacks has been taken as a nightmare for recycling.
It is an intricate construction with a metal base, plastic cover, tear-off metal cover, and cardboard cover lined with aluminum foil.
The Recycling Association described it as the number one recycling villain – along with the Lucozade Sports bottle.
Now, Kellogg, the manufacturer of Pringles, is experimenting with a simpler case – although experts say it’s not a complete solution.
The current version is especially annoying because it combines so many different materials
About 90% of the new box is paper. About 10% is a multi-barrier (plastic) that seals the inside to protect the food from oxygen and moisture that would otherwise harm the taste.
But what about the cover? Well, there are two options being tried out at some Tesco stores – recyclable plastic wrap and recyclable paper wrap. Kellog says these toppers will still produce the distinctive “pop” associated with the product.
Recycling Association Simon Ellen told BBC News: “The Pringles tube has been a bastion of poor design from a recycler’s point of view.
“This new version is an improvement, and we welcome it widely.
“But, honestly, if they were to stick to plastic wrap it would increase the plastic pollution problems – people on picnics leave them behind and find their way to streams and the sea. That plastic wrap has to go.”
Kellog says their packaging must be airtight, or else the food inside will be lost.
It took 12 months to prepare the new designs. Pringles has a shelf life of 15 months – and three million cases are manufactured across Europe every day.
Mr Ellen said the polyal-coated card may be recyclable but the product will need to be tested at recycling plants.
And what about Lucozade Sports’ heavily criticized bottle? Ellen said its basic, unchanged design was still a big problem, as machines found it difficult to differentiate the plastic in the bottle from the plastic that makes up its outer shell.
The makers of Centauri demanded that the outer packaging be reduced, as is the case with the new “Repina” bottle.
The company said it was planning to do this for the new year.
Suntory said it is working on a new material made entirely from seaweed extract that has been 100% edible, biodegradable and organic fertilizer.
Environmentalists say such trivial changes will not solve the world’s environmental crises – but at scale will make a contribution.
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