Producers, retailers and packaging experts are to look at ways of improving the recyclability of sandwich packs.

Following a meeting in London last month, a working group is to be set up for the industry to review how sandwich packaging can better be delivered to waste plants capable of recycling them.

The broad working group will include manufacturers, retailers, packaging and recycling experts, who will share experiences and knowledge. One of the first tasks will be to draw up guidelines covering packaging and waste.

A key consideration is the role packaging plays in helping maintain shelf-life and avoiding food waste, which creates a higher carbon footprint than the packs themselves. 

Many retailers and manufacturers have done a lot of work in this area, in collaboration with packaging and recycling businesses, according to trade body The British Sandwich and Food to Go Association (BSA), which added that more than 75% of authorities can now recycle lined board sandwich packaging.

However, the association believes work still needs to be done, and is keen to encourage businesses to share best-practice.

“Our industry has already done an enormous amount of work developing more eco-friendly packaging,” said BSA director Jim Winship.

“We are totally committed to finding the best possible solutions to packaging, but are also governed by other considerations – particularly the need to ensure packs fully protect the foods they contain. The last thing we want is to create a bigger problem by shortening shelf-life and creating more food waste.”

He added that sandwich packs were now recyclable if they were handled correctly and got into the correct waste streams, and that the association was keen to work with consumers to find ways to make it easier to ensure packs were recycled.