The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
UK Waste Packaging
Proper Packaging is vital to keep your articles safe and secure. Packaging helps to protect goods while transporting them from one place to another. Three types of packaging are there namely Primary, Secondary and Tertiary. Primary packaging is what customer sees, it holds the product. Secondary packaging contains the primary packaging. Likewise the packaging which contains the secondary packaging is called tertiary packaging.
Most of the times we throw away packages outside of our houses instead of reusing them after first use. The total annual waste including food, packaging and “non-foods” produced across the different sectors is 2.87 million tonnes. Only 46% of this produced waste is recycled and rest goes to landfills.
What is packaging made of?
Plastic materials are used to pack 53% of all goods. Plastic packaging is available in different sizes and shapes.
Paper is used to pack 25% of all goods. 3 million tonnes paper packaging was used in 2007.
Glass is used to pack 10% of all goods. 3.7 million tonnes of glass packaging are produced every year.
189,000 tonnes of aluminium packaging is utilized yearly in UK.
13 billion steel cans are generated every year.
Up to 38% of packaging in a shopping container can’t be reprocessed. It is sent to landfill.
Industry is working on a variety of approaches to decrease the amount of packaging waste. Eco-friendly packaging is a new mantra and soon we will see it everywhere. In 2011, 67% of the packaging waste was recovered. We can make the World more eco-friendly place by using the correct recycling practices. Best practices should be used by us as individuals to lessen the amount of packaging waste. We should use packaging materials that can be reused and are easy to recycle.
Below infographic, created by Globe Packaging, highlights fact and statistics about packaging waste in UK.
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Packaging Waste in the UK
The total annual waste including food, packaging, and other ‘non-foods’ produced across the different sectors is 2.87 million tonnes. Of this, 46% is recycled, sent to anaerobic digestion or composted. What exactly is packaging, how do we use it, and what can we do to reduce the environmental impact?
What is Packaging?
- Primary Packaging
- Primary packaging involves the wrapping or containers handled by the consumer.
- Secondary Packaging
- Larger cases or boxes that are used to group primary packaged goods for distribution and for display in shops.
- Transit Packaging
- Wooden pallets, boards, plastic wrapping, and containers that are used to pack the groups into larger loads for transport.
What is Packaging made of?
- 53% of all goods. One of the most energy efficient to produce.
- 25% of all the goods. 3 million tonnes used in 2007.
- 10% of all goods. Glass industry produces 3.7 million tonnes per year.
- 189,000 tonnes of aluminum packaging used annually in the UK.
- 100% recyclable. 13 billion steel cans are produced each year.
- Mixed Materials
- More energy efficient than single material packaging, but makes recycling difficult.
Waste packaging makes up over a quarter (26%) of the average UK household waste bin.
- Glass: 9%
- Paper: 10%
- Metal: 3%
- Plastic: 4%
Around 70% of the primary packaging is used for food and drink which is often contaminated by residues of content.
6.3 million tonnes of packaging waste in the UK originated from household in 2007.
Up to 38% of packaging in a shopping basket can’t be recycled and is either incinerated for the recovery of its energy or sent to landfill.
Progress so far
- Packaging waste recovered in 2011. 67%.
- Packaging waste recovered in 1998. 27%
Why you should recycle your packaging
- 1 recycled tin can would save enough energy to power a television for 3 hours.
- 1 recycled plastic bottle would save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for 3 hours.
- 1 recycled glass bottle would save enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes.
As we focus on recycling more and more of what we throw away from our homes and places of business, we are closer to the goal of making the Earth more Eco-Friendly place with less waste.
- They consist of renewable resources.
- Or they can be harvested directly from nature.
- They can completely decompose with the aid of micro-organisms in a composting area.
- No harmful chemicals.
- No plastic coating.
- No need for excessive energy to create them.
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About the Author
Mark Dawson writes on the behalf of Globe Packaging, which is one of the leading suppliers of industry standard packaging materials.