This is a very small issue, but it feels like Coles is pretending to sell meat in recyclable plastic trays when it isn’t, and by using misleading labelling is claiming to be more sustainable than it is, and is probably encouraging consumers to inadvertently do the wrong thing, adding to pressure on recycling centres.
I purchased some meat last week. The meat was fine. The plastic tray had a sticker with symbols suggesting that the tray could be recycled, and that the film and label could be recycled if returned to store (photo attached). I checked the tray after removing the film and label for recycling with soft plastic. Apart from the symbols on the label, there was no recycling symbol on the tray itself, anywhere. In addition, the symbol suggesting the tray is recyclable was a generic triangle, with no code to identify the material the tray was made of.
I put the tray in the rubbish.
Without the recycling symbol stamped on the tray:
- if I’d optimistically put the tray into the council recycling bin without Cole’s label, the recycling facility would have had no way of knowing whether it was made from recyclable plastic. Even with the label, they couldn’t have known what type of plastic it was made of - I assume best case it would have been sorted into landfill;
- it seems like Coles is pretending that/careless about whether its containers are recyclable and so adding to the problem of wish cycling while using false information to promote its commitment to sustainability (providing information which is misleading or deceptive in trade or commerce?).
I raised the issue with Coles. Their unhelpful response:
Thank you for contacting Coles Customer Care.
We are in the process of rolling out the Australasian Recycling Logo (ARL) on Coles Own Brand products including meat products. The ARL is a labeling system that provides easy to understand instructions about how to correctly dispose of a product’s packaging.
You will be able to find some of our meat products that are already using recyclable packaging, including Plantic trays, by looking for the ALR logo that states; ‘Tray: recyclable’. We expect to complete the ARL roll-out on our meat products in the near future.
Plastic trays such as meat trays or soft food trays recyclability differs across councils, so we’d advise getting in touch with your local council for more info.
We hope this helps, and we look forward to being of service to you again in the future.
I think that means that despite the stick-on label, meat trays aren’t generally recyclable. No idea how a council could help given the lack of information Coles has chosen to provide.