Recycling starts before you buy

Make smarter purchases by thinking of the packaging, can it be recycled?

Before you buy your groceries or buy a takeaway coffee, have a think about what these are packaged in, is it plastic and if so can it be recycled? This is the best way to start with recycling, from the very source. It's all good and well making sure you recycle your rubbish, but are you thinking about buying less items that are wrapped up in plastic. Do you need a plastic bag for your fruit or can you buy this loose?

How can you make better purchases without creating more rubbish problems?  

You may already know what you can/cannot recycle but if you don't it's worth checking with your local council to see what can be recycled in your area. Once you know what can be recycled, you can start to make smarter purchases. 

If you are doing your weekly food shop, think about what your fruit and veg is packaged in - do you need a plastic bag for your fruit and veg or can you leave it loose in your basket? 

Some local stores now do refilling stations for soaps, washing powders and washing-up liquids for example; Faith in Nature stock their re-fill soaps in many local/small supermarkets. This means you can refill your soaps in the same plastic bottle each time, less plastic waste = happier planet. 

If you can find products which are packaged in paper or cardboard, that is your best option or if you can find products without any packaging then you're onto a winner!

Shop for brands that use recycled plastic packaging or zero waste

Supporting companies which use recycled materials for their products or packaging is another way of shopping smart. If you're looking at cleaning products, try and shop brands which use recycled plastic to make their bottles - Method and Ecover are good examples of this, they also use non-toxic ingredients to make their cleaning products. 

Shopping from small independent, eco-friendly brands is also an important factor of cutting down your recycling waste. Most smaller brands will use paper packaging especially eco-friendly focused brands. If you are on social media, you can find hundreds of different small brands through Instagram and Facebook.

 You can shop Ecover products here on our Office Needs Direct website.

 The UK's Plastic Pact 

The UK's Plastic Pact is an organisation where many businesses have come together under watch by WRAP, this is to begin getting rid of single use plastic. A selection of UK supermarkets have been trialling re-filling stations and reusable, recyclable, and compostable packaging. WRAP suggests that the 2019 data shows that business members are making some good progress against all four targets which are listed below.

Quoted from WRAP website.

  • Target 1 - Pact members are on track to eliminate 6 out of 8 of the items classed as problematic or unnecessary by the end of 2020, however there remains challenges as some items have proven tougher to eliminate. These include PVS used in pharmaceutical packaging and polystyrene used to package multi pack yoghurts. 


  • Target 2 - Although we are seeing positive progress in the areas of packaging redesign, reuse and refill and trials and the removal of non-NIR detectable black plastic at scale - to make the inroads needed on this target, urgent action must be taken to make flexible plastic packaging widely recyclable in the UK.


  • Target 3 - The amount of plastic packaging that is being recycled is moving in the right direction from 44% in 2018 to 50% in 2019. This momentum must continue. We must continue to encourage citizens to recycle more and build our recycling capacity and capability in the UK. 


  • Target 4 - Average recycled content has increased from 9% in 2018 to 13% in 2019 which equates to 700,000 barrels of virgin oil production, saving 65,997 tonnes of CO2 emissions. We are moving in the right direction, but we must do more to achieve our targets including the development and investment in new technologies for sorting and processing plastic packaging.

We know it can be difficult to recycle when most of the time you have no idea what you can and cannot recycle but having a think about what you're about to buy from the supermarket can make a huge difference. When you're next doing your weekly food shop, stop and think about what you're about to buy.


If you are a business or an individual looking to find segregated waste streams then you have come to the right place. Click here to shop recycling bins.

Follow us on social media!


  • Supplying Direct Group

  • 6 Old Hall Barns

  • Thurston Road

  • Pakenham, Suffolk

  • IP31 2NG


2024 © The Supplying Direct Group. All rights reserved