The Pringles tube tries to wake up from the ‘recycling nightmare’


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New models are tested that still “pop” when they open

The distinctive Pringles tube is being redesigned after reviews that it is nearly impossible to recycle.

The current container for the potato snack has been doomed as a recycler’s nightmare.

It is an intricate construction with a metal base, plastic cap, metal tear-off cover, and an aluminum-lined cardboard sleeve.

The Recycling Association dubbed him the number one recycling villain – with the Lucozade Sports bottle.

Now, Pringles maker Kellogg is testing a simpler box – though experts say it’s not a complete solution.

The existing version is particularly troublesome because it combines so many different materials

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Media legendRoger Harrabin considers the challenge of recycling Pringles

About 90% of the new can is paper. About 10% is a polyal (plastic) barrier that seals the inside to protect food from oxygen and moisture that would damage the taste.

But what about the cover? Well, two options are being tested at some Tesco stores: a recyclable plastic cover and a recyclable paper cover. Kellog says these lids will always produce the distinctive “pop” associated with the product.

Simon Ellin of the Recycling Association told BBC News: “The Pringles tube has been a bastion of poor design from a recycler perspective.

“This new version is an improvement and we are very pleased with it.

“But, frankly, if they want to stick with a plastic cover that will only add to the plastic pollution problems – people on picnics leave them behind and they end up in streams and the sea. This plastic cover must go. . ”

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The Recycling Association said many manufacturers need to rethink their packaging

Kellog says its packaging needs to be airtight or the food inside will be wasted.

The new models have been in development for 12 months. Pringles have a shelf life of 15 months – and three million cans are made in Europe every day.

Mr Ellin said the polyal-coated card could be recyclable but the product would have to be tested in recycling plants.

And what about the much criticized Lucozade Sports bottle? Mr Ellin said its basic, unchanged design remains a big problem, as the machines struggle to differentiate between the plastic in the bottle and the plastic that makes up its outer sleeve.

He asked the manufacturers, Suntory, to reduce the size of the outer sleeve, as is the case with the new Ribena bottle.

The company said it plans to do so for the New Year.

Suntory said he was working on a new material made entirely from 100% edible, biodegradable and compostable seaweed extract.

Environmentalists say trivial changes like these won’t solve global ecological crises – but on a large scale, they will make a contribution.

Follow Roger on Twitter @rharrabin


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