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Recycling Public Enemy #1

Date: 17-Aug-09

Question - What common snack package is so complicated that no recycling service in Australia can deal with it?

Answer - The Pringles packet. 


The tube is made of cardboard that is lined with a very thin layer of plastic and aluminium foil.  The bottom is metal.  The lid is plastic and the ‘freshness seal' is paper and plastic.  

The basic rule of thumb for recycling is that single materials recycle more easily and efficiently than combined materials.  This container is just too complicated to be recycled.  The sorting machines don't know whether it should go in the paper and cardboard, plastic or metal stream - so it becomes a contaminant.


  • Keep these packages out of your recycling.
  • Better still, buy products in recyclable packaging.  Smith's Stax potato crisps come in a fully recyclable No. 2 plastic package.  
To see short films on how the recycling process works visit
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