Chocolate Week 2021
Strawberries and cream… Cheese and pickle… Chocolate and recycling…
Wait, what? OK, chocolate and recycling aren’t usually two things we would put together, but this Chocolate Week (14-19 October) is a good time to talk about how to recycle those pesky wrappers!
Whether you’re a chocoholic or an occasional nibbler, you’ll notice there is often plenty of ‘evidence’ left behind in the form of wrappers.
Most chocolate wrappers are made of either a soft plastic or a metallised plastic film. Both are hard to recycle and generally not accepted in household recycling collections.
The metallised films used for chocolate bars and other food packaging such as crisp packets are great for keeping the contents dry and cool, but hard to recycle as they are made from several layers of plastic and metal fused together. While technically the metallised films can be recycled at an industrial level, says UK waste agency WRAP, it isn’t economically viable to do so widely yet. Many UK chocolate manufacturers are seeking ways to increase recyclability of wrappers whilst keeping our chocolate in tip top quality and avoiding spoilage.
We can’t imagine a life without chocolate so here are a few options to keep the wrappers out of your bin.
The best way forward is to avoid any kind of plastic wrappers in the first place. Avoid individually wrapped chocolates and multipacks and instead opt for family sized bars which can be portioned out and wrapped in a wax wrap, foil (wash and reuse) or a reusable container. You’ll get more chocolate for your money and less packaging – what’s not to love about that?
Switch to brands that use foil, paper or cardboard packaging, all of which can be easily recycled via your household collection scheme. Foil needs to be balled up to the size of a tennis ball before it’s put out for recycling, as small pieces are likely to get lost in the collection and sorting process.
If plastic and metallised plastic film wrappers are unavoidable, reusing them is the next best option. You can get creative and turn them into rainbow sun catchers, butterfly decorations or make a purse from your favourite chocolate bar!
So, fear not! With just a few small changes you can enjoy your chocolate guilt free, environmentally at least! Opt for Fairtrade chocolate in recyclable packaging where possible and you’ll be supporting ethical and fair farming too.
Go on, treat yourself!