We’re doing all we can at COOK to minimise our impact on the environment. Our ultimate aim is to leave everything that we have loaned from the planet in as good or a better condition than it was when we got it. As you can imagine, this is no easy feat and something we can’t do without the help of our customers.
Here are some tips on what you can do to help us recycle...
The cardboard sleeves on our meals are 100% recyclable when sorted into the appropriate paper/card category. Unfortunately not all local councils recycle everything. To find out if yours recycles paper and card please visit Recycle Now (you’ll also be able to find your nearest recycling bank here if they don’t).
At our Kitchen in Kent, 100% of the cardboard that our ingredients are delivered in gets recycled. The cardboard (along with our waste paper) is baled before being collected and taken away to be reused.
Between 2015 and 2016 we recycled 266 tonnes of cardboard
Many local authorities can provide homes with a food waste recycling bin, so if you don’t manage to finish your meal, you needn’t create any waste.
We have plans to introduce an anaerobic food digester system to our Kitchen that will mean we can recycle every last bit of our food waste. Visit WRAP's website to find out more about this and similar projects taking place regarding food waste management.
The film that seals our meals is not currently recyclable and should be put into a mixed waste bin. We are looking at alternative seals to plastic film, so watch this space!
The black CPET trays we use for our meals are made of 60-70% recycled content and are themselves capable of being recycled.
However, the optical sorting machines used at recycling centres struggle to identify them because of their dark colour. This means that once they go to a recycling centre, they don’t get recycled into new food trays and instead end up as materials such as road chippings (which is still better than going to landfill).
Unfortunately, not all local authorities are able to recycle our black trays. We've put together a quick table from our most recent research that shows whether the local authorities where our COOK shops are currently have this capability. Please see this table here. We'll try to keep this as up to date as possible. If you're a home delivery customer or shop at one of independent stockists around the country you can find this information at Recycle Now.
We’re currently working on finding a solution for our customers whose authorities don’t recycle the trays - we're in this together!
We are investigating the issue of the tray's colour preventing it from being fully recycled. We're working with our supplier, Faerch, to investigate other options and are also involved in current discussions with other retailers.
In the meantime, we've set ourselves a business milestone to scope alternative options for trays that combine a sustainable solution with the best possible customer experience and will present options by the third quarter of this financial year.
In terms of other plastics we use at our Kitchen, we recycle the plastic packaging our ingredients are delivered in, any plastic pallet wrap, and have an agreement with our chemical supplier so that the plastic drums our cleaning chemicals are packaged in are returned to the supplier and reused.
Some of our meals are packaged in aluminium foil trays. These can be widely recycled as part of your kerbside collection and if not, at local recycling collection points.
Home Delivery Packaging
Most elements of our Home Delivery packaging are recyclable (some pieces require more imagination than others!).
The outer box is made of cardboard and is 100% recyclable at any cardboard recycling centre or doorstep collection.
The insulating liner is made of sheep’s wool which is biodegradable when removed from the plastic. The wool can also be used in a number of ingenious ways (as suggested by our customers) such as insulation for plant pots and beehives in the winter, as liners for hanging basket displays and for making hamster cages extra cosy!
Once the gel packs have defrosted, the contents can be poured straight down your sink as they are completely non-toxic. The empty bags can then be taken to your nearest recycling centre as they’re made of the same material as a normal supermarket carrier bag.