Sustainable packaging: Doran answers your questions

Trying to make green choices can be confusing, so Mark Baker, our MD answers customers’ frequently asked questions on sustainable packaging.

WRAP estimates that back in 2011, 10.9 million tonnes of packaging were used to protect the billions of goods used by UK households and industry.

Packaging prolongs the life of food and helps prevent waste. But there remains much to do to truly deliver the most sustainable packaging in this country, and help tackle the vast volumes of packaging we use.

Why is sustainable packaging so important?

Mark, Doran Packaging: Without sustainable packaging, we will continue to landfill material we could easily recycle. This has CO2 impacts, but it's also expensive and unnecessary. However, there are complexities involved in sustainable packaging.  

What kind of challenges are you referring to?

Mark, Doran Packaging: Well, for example, the paper cups that we offer are ‘recyclable’ but whether they get recycled depends on whether the local council has the facilities to separate the plastic inner lining from the cardboard; some do, some don't.

That can be confusing for the public. It can be frustrating when things that seem easily recyclable, like a simple cup, aren't being recycled. But you need the plastic inner lining, otherwise you would be covered in scalding coffee. Packaging needs to be sustainable, but it must do its job well too.

Do you sell compostable cups?

Mark, Doran Packaging: We do not stock compostable cups yet, but plan to in the future. They are compostable but only industrially. ‘Industrially’ means the council can compost them – you can put them in your food waste bin. In addition, our compostable salad/deli containers are also commercially (i.e. by the council) compostable.

Are your paper carrier bags, including those with the twist and tape handle, 100% recyclable?

Mark, Doran Packaging: Yes, all of our bags can be fully recycled. The Kraft twist handle bags are made from recycled material, and the coloured bags are made from virgin materials.

And how about the sandwich wedges you offer?

Mark, Doran Packaging: The sandwich wedges are recyclable, I cannot answer regarding individual council facilities and how they accept them. I believe each council is different!

With regards to bubble wrap, is this largely unrecyclable in most UK councils? Can you explain?

Mark, Doran Packaging: Bubblewrap can be recycled, but not all councils do so. This is the big issue with sustainable packaging. A lot of packaging can be recycled, but it can be expensive to do so.

Every council in the UK does things differently, so just because something can be recycled isn't always a signal that is recycled. At Doran, we are keen to work with councils and firms who buy our packaging, to improve the volumes of recycling taking place.

Got a packaging question? Contact us; we would be happy to help.

This Q&A was carried out by technology marketing agency Content Coms.