Product packaging must abandon 'the Pringles factor', says Recycling Association

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Producers and manufacturers need to pay greater attention to recyclable packaging and move away from the "idiotic" Pringles tube model, an environmental expert has said.

Simon Ellin, chief executive of trade body the Recycling Association, said the packaging industry in the UK had made "some extraordinary progress" in recent years.

But he said the distinctive Pringles snack packaging is an example of not getting the design right when considering the environment.

He told a conference: "What idiot designed this in terms of recyclability?

"We've got a cardboard tube, a metal bottom, a plastic lid.

"The Pringles factor - right at the design stage, we've got to get that right.

"What we're putting in our recycling bins has got to be recyclable. We've got to get away from the Pringles factor."

It comes as the Prince of Wales prepares to join record-breaking yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur in launching a multimillion-pound competition to encourage the reduction of plastics in the world's oceans.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Charles's International Sustainability Unit (ISU) will launch the New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize in central London on Thursday to challenge groups and individuals to find new ways of designing packaging to help keep it out of the oceans.

A Pringles spokesman said: "We take our responsibilities to the planet we all share seriously and are continuously working to improve our environmental performance.

"All parts of a Pringles can act as a barrier to protect the chips from environmental contamination and to keep them fresh.

"The freshness of our chips means a longer shelf life, which minimises food waste."