Archetypal Pringles tube undergoes a green transformation

SOME interesting news in the world of food packaging this week, with Kellogg’s announcing that the iconic Pringles tube is undergoing an eco-friendly makeover. The instantly recognisable cylinder is going 90% paper-based and their new mantra can truly be “pop, play, eat, recycle!”

The Lowdown on the Old Tube

Previously, the Pringles packaging was made up of a combination of different materials. The tube itself was cardboard with a foil lining, the rim was made of metal and it was topped off with a plastic lid. With this packaging, the aim was to reduce any potential damage to the crisps and maintain freshness by having a snug-fitting lid. This gave the customer the flexibility to eat some pringles on one day, replace the lid, and be able to return to them when hunger strikes.

This of course makes good sense, however the use of different materials makes recycling Pringles tubes at home extremely difficult if not impossible, as they need to be separated. This has led Kellogg’s to come under fire for creating a “recycling nightmare.”

Following negative press, a partnership between Pringles and waste management company TerraCycle was formed two years ago. This led to the development of a nationwide recycling scheme for Pringles tubes. However, it wasn’t a simple solution, as customers had to register to have their tubes collected, or physically go to a designated drop-off station. One can imagine that this would have created a real barrier for those with good intentions, but who simply did not have the time to recycle their Pringles tubes.

So, What’s Changed?

The new tube will be 90% paper, with the other 10% being a plastic barrier that acts as a seal inside the tube to keep the crisps fresh. They are trialling two different kinds of lid – either recyclable paper or recyclable plastic. These will initially be available across three Tesco stores, which is also in line with Tesco’s commitment to remove all non-recyclable packaging where possible.

According to Kellogg’s, “the development of new solutions for the Pringles can is part of Kellogg’s commitment to ensure 100% of its packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable by end of 2025.”

Although these changes may seem small, this is an exciting prospect that reflects changing attitudes towards plastics and creating greener alternatives.  It is heartening to see such an industry giant make this commitment to sustainability. We can only hope that this serves as a signal to other key players within the food industry to follow suit. Here at Sirane we are constantly developing sustainable packaging options that we believe could become the norm in the near future.


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