Can we get recyclable packaging?

Hi, I love huel a lot!
I’m wondering is there any way for you guys to use recyclable packaging
As if you use huel alot, the waste adds up, all those bags!

Thanks

8 Likes

@Jonty_Thomas it is certainly our aim to provide recycling packaging. We have researched a great deal but currently we have been unable to find a suitable recyclable material that provides the required level of protection for our ingredients, especially the vit and mineral blend. We will keep looking.

2 Likes

My thought was to use tetrapak.

Something like a 1 litre fruit juice carton, but 2 or 3 times longer. Perhaps you could get a custom designed tetrapak carton, which just fits inside a custom designed cardboard box for shipping, which just fits through most letterboxes.

I think such a thing could be big enough to fit about the same amount of powder as a bag currently does.

In this scenario you would probably want to get rid of the requirement for packaging to be resealable. Instead people could just use their tupperware, and you could also sell containers designed just for the purpose of transferring Huel into after opening.

(And probably keep the throwaway resealable bags as a purchasing option too.)

And I suppose everything I’ve said based upon the idea of a tetrapak container could also work instead for plastic, or even metal (like a giant tin of corned beef!).

1 Like

After all, it’s not like the current resealable bags are perfect …

I did consider tetrapak but like pouches they are made from composite material so it’s not always to recycle them. The paper is lined with foil as per our pouch.

Hi Julian,
I was wondering if you made any more progress or done any more research into this now? Still going strong with the huel for breakfast and lunch and mid afternoon!

Hi Jonty,

We did look into it, a lot, but there wasn’t suitable packaging that was recyclable and provided the right performance. Yes we could have moved to recyclable packaging but it would have been less strong and/or less protective for the vitamins and minerals, and would have resulted in more product spoiling which would have been worst for the environment.

We are switching to a new pouch, which is smaller so there will less waste. See below:

Plus If you consumed Huel at 2000kcal per day for 96 years, this is the amount of rubbish you would produce. Which would probably fit in two wheelie bins.

2 Likes

you could issue subscribers with re-usable containers, they would get 2+ and would send one back for refill whilst the other is being - or you could even offer it to users to send their own containers in.

4 Likes

Hi Julian,
Thankyou very much for your response! Great customer service and that really isn’t as much waste as I expected!

We are still looking at it, but a practical solution is not available at the moment. One of the main issues is strength, even our current strong composite pouch burst sometime whilst in the hands of the courier, which is out of our control. We have to be very careful not to switch to recyclable packaging, which could actually create more waste because it bursts open more often.

We have a meeting with the manufacturer and he is working on it.

3 Likes

Some local councils recycle tetra packs at their recycling centres. So I’ve been taking my Huel pouches there and putting them in the tetra pack containers since I understand the Huel pouches are made of same/similar materials.

I’d appreciate if anyone from Huel folks could give any input on whether this is a good idea or not? I’ll also check at the recycling centre next time I go, but would be good to hear from Huel folks too.

I’m a +1 on returnable non-disposable containers. Its pretty ahead of the curve, but likely that a lot of things will be sold like this as resources become less scarce.

Thank you

Returnable containers would be far worse - the emissions created and resources used for packaging them up and shipping them back would outweigh the benefits. As you can see in the about picture - a lifetime of Huel creates an absolute minute amount of waste.

Really? Based on what figures?

There are definitely avenues we are looking into. I agree that returnable pouches wouldn’t be the solution though. I assure you we are trying to find ways to make our packaging more environmentally friendly whilst balancing that with other sorts of emissions and also keeping our food waste to a minimum. The benefits of our current pouches being that they give Huel a 12 month shelf life.

1 Like

Hello people of Huel

Well done on your funding!
With all the research going on into materials like PLA or PHA that can be composted in industrial composters, I wondered if you guys had made any progress?

Chris

I’ve never ordered from them (mostly due to the eye-watering prices), but would something like Loop work as a zero-waste solution?

(Cliff Notes: Loop is a trial partnership between TerraCycle, Tesco and DPD where groceries are shipped in returnable containers over and over in a loop. I get the feeling Amazon is watching, but will hang back and wait to launch their own version in a year or two.)

Hi – there are a few discussion threads on this going on – at the moment, the only packaging Huel use that is not mechanically recyclable is the multi-layer pouches. There are alternatives coming into production that can be recycled through specialised chemcycling facilities but it’s still a work in progress and I understand the Huel team are working with pack and material manufacturers on this.

The main issues with recycling is (still) the publics apathy towards it and governmental inability to keep pace with technology in their recycling infrastructure. Brands like Huel would love to be able to use materials like rPET but because the public in general absolve themselves of any responsibility in the recycling chain, there is a chronic shortage of raw materials to make this happen.

Reusable packaging may work in certain sectors, but for packaging that requires gas and light barriers to preserve the products integrity – it does not.

Thanks @Phil_C. Good to know there’s a healthy discussion already going on.

Apathy is definitely a problem and I would count myself in that. I have access to solutions like Loop and fully support the idea, but I’ve allowed the high pricing to prevent me from placing an order. I’m more than happy to pay a deposit for responsible packaging and innovative replacements for the supermarket experience, but not when the contents are so heavily marked up.

As for underinvestment in recycling facilities in the UK, I’m not as well-versed as others in this regard. Possibly off-topic, but I was taken aback when I learned that cardboard theft is a thing.

Personally, I think the best solution would be the development of a range of fully biodegradable plastic-like materials that suppliers like Huel could combine depending on the needs of their product. Imagine just tossing all your packaging on a compost heap with zero guilt or nagging doubts. And litter blowing about in the streets that eventually turns itself back into soil instead of hanging around for hundreds of years? I’d buy that for a dollar!

So looking at this thread you’ve been trying for 5 years with no real changes, which is disappointing and makes me question whether you are just saying empty words. Lots of companies are “trying to work towards” more sustainable solutions, but it’s actions that matter.

One of the main ways you could reduce food waste would be to remove your minimum orders which force people to buy more than they need or want. I know that many bags end up wasted because of this.

a bag has a shelf life of a year - you’re saying people cant get through 34 meals in a year?

1 Like