Beware of The Pringle Factor

Pringles Tubes Are Hard To Recycle

“What idiot designed this?” Made of multiple materials, Pringles tubes have been cited as one of the worst examples of poor design and lack of consideration for the product’s recyclability. The chief executive of the Recycling Association, Simon Ellin, hit the headlines earlier this year when he singled out Pringles tubes for their poor design. 

Packaging Innovation

Speaking at the launch of The New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize in May, Ellin criticised a number of food packaging designs which are confusing for customers and recyclers to sort. Pringles with their cardboard tubes, metal bottoms and plastic tops were the top target. Lucozade Sport bottles were named the “Number 2 villain” as while they are made with a recyclable bottle – they’re sheathed in a sleeve made from a different type of plastic which confuses computer scanners in recycling plants. Ellin also criticised cleaning spray bottles, black plastic food trays and whiskey bottles. 

The comments were made as Dame Ellen MacArthur launched a $2m competition to reduce plastic waste and target the 30% of plastic packaging that’s unrecyclable due to its construction. Around the world only 14% of plastic packaging is collected for recycling, MacArthur said “If we want to change this, we must fundamentally rethink the way we make and use plastics. We don’t believe at the moment the system works. Only 2% of plastic packaging gets recycled into the same quality material and 32% leaks into the environment. Then there is 30% which cannot be recycled at all and that is what this innovation project is about.”

Winning Designs

The winners of the first part of the competition were announced in October, featuring six practical and inventive ways to eliminate single-use plastics. The first part of the competition was based on design, the second part of the challenge is focused on materials and the winners will be announced in January at the World Economic Forum in Davos. 

The New Plastics Economy, led by The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, is striving to bring together these inventers and entrepreneurs with businesses, policy makers and investors to make clear commitments and collaborate towards a circular economy for plastics. Mars, Marks & Spencer, PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Company, Unilever and Werner & Mertz are six huge companies who back the foundation and have pledged to use 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025 at the latest. The involvement of such industry heavyweights is sure to lead more to join this great movement. 

Reducing the environmental impact of plastic is one of our goals, we can help you create a product that fulfils your sustainability targets without compromising on style, structure or strength. Work with our design team or choose from our standard packaging range of products which are made from easily recyclable plastics: PP, HDPE and PET.  We recycle all of our waste plastic and we even take in waste plastic from other factories and use it in our products.

We have the facilities to help your product be more environmentally-friendly, for more information on any of our processes or services, contact our team at or call +44 1692 501020.

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