News in brief | Pret-A-Manger joins Podback scheme for recycling at-home coffee pods

Pret-A-Manger has become the first food-to-go retailer to join Podback, the nationwide coffee pod recycling service, as a member of the scheme.

Customers will now be able to recycle their Pret-A-Manger at-home aluminium coffee pods by dropping off return parcels to Collect+ or kerbside collection points in selected areas across the UK. The Collect+ recycling bags needed for the return scheme will become available in Pret’s stores later this year.

In July 2021, Pret-A-Manger launched two aluminium coffee pod blends, which are now recyclable through the Podback scheme.

Guy Meakin, UK Managing Director of Pret-A-Manger said: “Now that our coffee is increasingly enjoyed in homes around the country, we wanted to find a solution that would help our customers recycle their Pret coffee pods easily. We’re excited to join the Podback scheme to make this possible.”

Podback was created by Nestlé and Jacobs Douwe Egberts UK (JDE UK) and is the UK’s first nationwide, not-for-profit service that enables customers to recycle their aluminium and plastic coffee pods. Through Podback’s recycling scheme, aluminium pods are recycled into ingots and used to manufacture new products, while the used coffee grounds go through anaerobic digestion to produce a combination of biogas and soil improver.

Rick Hindley, Executive Director of Podback, said: “Pret is the first food-to-go retailer to join Podback as a member. Expanding the scheme to include more brands has been one of our priorities since launching last year, so we’re thrilled to have Pret on board. We welcome other retailers and brands to join to make the scheme even more inclusive for consumers.”


KFC pledges £40,000 to new fund aimed at supporting local litter picking groups

KFC has partnered with Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean and committed to creating a new £40,000 fund to support local litter picking groups. The fast-food retailer will also partner with three local councils to trial new ways to tackle litter in communities.

Announced as part of KFC’s partnership with Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean, KFC’s new litter commitments will see 3,000 restaurant team members across the UK take part in what the brand says will be its biggest ever litter picking mission. It aims to collect over 20,000 bags of litter, supported by local litter picking groups and local councillors.

As part of KFC’s campaign, they have launched a hashtag, #Don’tBeATosser, aimed at encouraging people to avoid littering and be conscious of how they dispose of their waste.

Jenny Packwood, Chief Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Officer, KFC said: “As the weather warms up and we all enjoy more time outside, the eyesore of litter in our local communities is more noticeable than ever. That’s why we’re joining forces with Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean to make sure more people can enjoy the outdoor space around them with our biggest ever litter picking mission with over 3,000 of our team members.”

Allison Ogden-Newton, CEO of leading litter charity Keep Britain Tidy, commented on the KFC’s new commitments saying: “It’s great to see our Great British Spring Clean Headline Partner KFC taking real action on the litter problem, and that starts with their huge litter pick this week. Through our new grant scheme, funded by KFC and administered by Keep Britain Tidy, we’ll provide some of the much-needed kit to support local community litter-picking groups in their endeavours too.”


Recycle for Greater Manchester Community Fund opens for applications with up to £220,000 available

ManchesterThe Recycle for Greater Manchester Community Fund opened for applications on 1 April  for projects which promote the sustainable use of household waste, as well as generate wider social benefits for the communities of Greater Manchester.

Up to £220,000 is available and applications are welcomed from community, voluntary and faith groups, schools, colleges, universities, and other not for profit organisations. The fund is provided by SUEZ and supported through money raised from the Renew shops located at three household waste recycling centres.

Last year, successful projects included The Food Collective’s zero waste community supermarket, the Green Superheroes project by Future Directions CIC, and No Time to Waste by Rochdale Intraquest.

The £220,000 Community Fund will be divided between two different award categories. A total of £180,000 is available for projects that will benefit individual council areas within Greater Manchester, with a maximum of £10,000 per project for schemes in Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, or Trafford (this excludes Wigan as they operate separate waste disposal arrangements).

A Greater Manchester level award will be open to projects that cover more than one council area or all nine councils (excluding Wigan). A total of £40,000 of funding is on offer with a maximum of £20,000 available per project.

Any charity, community, voluntary and faith groups, schools, colleges, universities or not for profit organisations can apply online for funding this year from 1 April to 31 May.

The Community Fund is part of the Greater Manchester Environment Fund (GMEF) which has been established to provide more sustained investment in projects which contribute to creating a cleaner, carbon-neutral Greater Manchester and attract private investment. The environment fund, managed by Lancashire Wildlife Trust (LWT) aims to target funding to projects which improve nature, waterways, and green spaces.


DS Smith opens new “state-of-the-art” laboratory to support customers’ circularity ambitions

DS Smith Fibre LabDS Smith has invested £750,000 in a laboratory to work with customers in optimising the circularity of their packaging.

The packaging company said the laboratory will be used for researching technologies that enhance the performance and sustainability qualities of fibre-based packaging, including coatings and barrier technology, wet-end chemistries, surface chemistries, re-pulpability, and recyclability.

Alan Potts, Design & Innovation Director at DS Smith, said: “By exploring new technologies and raw materials, we can expand our offering of innovative circular ready packaging solutions that have less impact on the environment and support our customers’ transition to a circular economy.”

The new laboratory is also part of DS Smith’s aim to research alternative fibres as sustainable raw materials for paper and packaging products. The Fibre and Paper Development Laboratory is the latest investment in DS Smith’s £100m R&D programme, which was launched in May 2021, with the aim to accelerate its work in the Circular Economy.

Materials Development Director at DS Smith, Nick Thompson, said: “At DS Smith, we are constantly developing innovative new thinking to help our customers with this challenge and the new Fibre and Paper Development Laboratory allows us to optimise the performance and circularity of our customers’ packaging.”


Waitrose phases out coloured milk bottle caps

Milk cap recycling schemeA Müller & Waitrose partnership will see the retailer scrap coloured milk caps in a move that it says could boost the availability of rHDPE by 1,560 tonnes per annum.

Phasing out coloured milk caps could boost the availability of rHDPE on the market by 1,560 tonnes per annum. Unlike fully recyclable plastic milk bottles, coloured milk caps cannot currently be recycled back into food-grade packaging, Waitrose says. It says that introducing clear caps ‘enables retention of the material for reuse within the food sector’.

Due to the higher demand for rHDPE than supply, by keeping the material within a ‘closed loop’ system, Waitrose says there can be more rHDPE available on the market, further reducing dependency on ‘virgin’ plastic.

Müller says it has conducted research that shows that consumers support the change if it further improves the availability of food-grade recycled plastic material. It said the survey found 8 out of 10 shoppers said, given the choice, they would choose a bottle of milk that used a clear milk cap that could be recycled into food-grade material over a coloured one that could not.

After several years of collaboration, Waitrose and Müller are partnering further to trial the scheme across all 331 shops between the 4 – 30 of April.

Liam McNamara, Commercial Director at Müller Milk & Ingredients, said: “In an industry that needs access to more rHDPE, we are really excited to collaborate with Waitrose across all of their shops and trial this additional solution.”

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