It’s a priority here 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.
Recycling varies from council to council, so do check the website Recycle Now for your details specific to your area. For specific recycling information for our current range of packaging, scroll down this page.
An Update on Plastic – January 2020
Within the first few months of 2020, the last of those black plastic trays will have gone. We haven’t been dishing into black plastic in the COOK Kitchen for a couple of months now, but as our food is frozen, they are still in stock in some of our freezers.
Now we’re mostly using recyclable plastic trays from company called Faerch. They became available in the autumn of 2019 and COOK was the first company in the UK to trial them. These trays are made from up to 85% recycled plastic (the 15% being the virgin layer of plastic required by law) and are themselves 100% recyclable, so they can go to make another food tray (or something else), again and again. All that remains in black plastic are the canapé trays, but we’re confident on being able to switch those over soon.
We continue to use the cardboard trays we introduced in 2018 for our Kids Meals and some sides, but they are unsuitable for larger-portion meals.
While the switch is undoubtedly a big step forward on our path to less single-use plastic, we’ve still got a long way to go. The new plastic tray is easy to recycle in most areas and we’re setting up recycling points in our shops where it isn’t. So it’s a good option for the time being, but we’re continuing to work with the manufacturers of both the cardboard trays and the new plastic ones to find an even better solution. The technology is slowly catching up and our cardboard tray supplier is currently testing a biodegradable alternative to the virgin plastic layer. Next on the list: the film lid.
Dramatically reducing single-use plastic is a challenge that we need to be tackling together. If you work for a food company and would like to hear about how the new trays are working, or what else we’re doing to reduce plastic use, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
Our new plastic trays come in various shares of blue, green and grey, depending on what they have been recycled from. They must be cleaned first, then they go in with your usual plastic recycling. Unfortunately, recycling varies council to council and a few areas will still not accept coloured plastic. In these areas, we are setting up a recycling point in our shops. We’ll post an update here as soon as we have news.
To find out about the recycling capabilities of your local council, please visit Recycle Now.
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.