The trouble with multi material packaging.
Where I live the council supplies six refuse containers to each household. There are two bins, two boxes and two bags, each for a different purpose and five of the six are for recyclable waste. Each household has to sort their waste into the appropriate container. So far fine.
Paper, glass and metal in one box, food waste in another. Cardboard in one bag, recyclable plastic in the other. Garden waste in the green bin and everything else in the grey. But what about the rubbish that is not a single material? Most commonly, but not exclusively, is food packaging with plastic windows and window envelopes; paper with see a through panel for the address.
We are supposed to separate the materials, i.e. remove the plastic windows from the cardboard boxes and envelopes. It’s not always easy to separate. If it is particularly hard separating materials in some packaging, I resort to discarding the item into the grey bin, as non recyclable rubbish.
Why is the onus entirely on the public to separate the materials? Why can’t the manufacturers standardise their packaging so that one package/packet has only one material?
Modern printers can print envelopes without windows so why do envelopes need plastic panels?
Boxes can be printed with pictures of their contents, doing away the need for a plastic window.
Printing on plastic is possible now, doing away with the need for a paper label.
Isn’t it time manufacturers/producers helped the consumer streamline recycling?
All these can reduce the waste going to landfill but there is a better way. There are many products that do not need packaging at all, it is there as a marketing aid with no other practical reason. Where possible, do away with packaging completely.