Recyclability

Non-recyclable packaging, in my eyes, is the only thing holding your back from perfection- from true ascension. (Powders particularly)
I use the product due to its ethical sourcing and low impact on the earth, as well as it’s benefits, and this is the only box of many unticked. The only thing keeping you from 10/10.
Is this something you are working on?(100% recyclability)

No offence but if you had clicked search instead of new topic you would see this has come up lots of times already. They are working on it but the bottom line is in Huel’s opinion current recyclable packaging material is not strong enough and would result in too much product damage in transit. Even the current plastic composite bags are prone to splitting.

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I received some organinpea protein powder at the weekend that was packed in gorgeous looking brown paper packaging. Totally recyclable. This was packed inside a further paper based brown paper bag for shipping. Really nice idea. Trouble was it was so incovnvenient to try to decant into a resealable container. There was no way it could remain stored in the original packaging.

It was from a new start-up company but I don’t see how it will be feasible as they grow.

A loose tea company I use does something similar. The default is to supply tea in plastic pouches, but you can tick a box and it will be supplied in paper bags ready to tip straight into your own jars.

Maybe Huel could consider having such an option, then people could just re-use the standard plastic pouches a number of times. Shouldn’t be so messy emptying into the pouch.

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Unfortunately I do know that some nutrients degrade a lot faster than others, which is why Huel, having such a complex array of nutrients, will degrade to some degree faster than pea protein, for example.
Although I see how in short term this could result in more waste, if the risk of degradation/shortened life is stressed to customers then it should allow them to get into better or more efficient buying patterns. Or as someone else said have it as an option, relieving you of some liability.
It’s obvious I’m no expert but is having a fully aluminium bag within a protective recyclable plastic bag feasible???

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Big bump on this purely as I’m interested to know why something like that isn’t feasible, couldn’t find anything relevant on google.

Currently the largest biodegradable ziplock packaging that is strong enough for powder (as opposed to dog food which will be less dense in packaging due to more empty space) comes in 1kg bag sizes, and even these are weaker than bags like Huel’s. So if they switched, they’d need to use more overall packaging for the same volume of powder (which would increase transport emissions), and could lead to more bags splitting.

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I think if there was a better way, Huel would be using it.

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The Huel packaging seems very similar to the pouches that pet food comes in, or dishwasher tablets.

These people - https://www.terracycle.co.uk/en-GB/brigades recycle that stuff. Is there any way someone from Huel could get hold of them and sort something? If Huel HQ was a collection point then I’d be happy to collect up my empty packaging and spend a quid or so to send it back.

@TimOfficialHuel ?

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I’m getting a 500 error on that link, but think it’s to do with their site as the homepage isn’t working for me either. Thanks for the further suggestions around this topic, I’ll chat with @GulliverOfficialHuel who is working on this project and see what his thoughts are.

Had a chat with Gully. Tl;dr It seems that this has all been considered but either it wouldn’t work/would reduce shelf life/degrade nutrients/or increase environmental impact in other areas for only a benefit in marketing spin.


Cans

Cans take up much more space the flat pouches to do ship. We could ship maybe 300 cans on a pallet to the manufacturing site, but let’s be charitable and say we can ship 1000. We ship more than 50,000 pouches per pallet currently. So we would be dramatically increasing the amount of lorries travelling the country, whether that’s to the manufacturing site or to to the consumer, and therefore the amount of energy used.

Aluminum production generally does use less energy than plastic, especially because aluminium is recycled much more. However, the energy use after production is drastically in our pouches favour.

Aluminium pouches

We have also looked at aluminium pouches. We couldn’t pack more than 100-200g, as you cannot reseal aluminum pouches unless you bind plastic to them. Which ruins the point of them. So we would be using significantly more material than our current pouches. This is also not considering the fact that aluminum is heavier than plastic, so again, more material is used, and more energy is used producing and transporting this.

Paper pouches

Paper pouches are ideal for other products. However, because of the nutritional profile of Huel, paper cannot be used. It does not provide close to the oxygen or moisture protection required for Huel to maintain the nutritional profile. Huel is a fundamental part of many people’s diets, and the nutritional profile remaining stable is of absolute paramount importance. Again, you can improve the protection of paper by adding plastic, but this doesn’t match our pouches and ruins the point of using paper.

Currently

So for Huel, recyclable plastic pouches are the best solution right now. We have been reached out to by companies claiming they can produce 100% recyclable plastic pouches in the past. However, the materials used are very, very rarely recycled, especially in curbside recycling, and provide less protection than our current pouch. They also do not regularly transport the amount of powder we ship, so the risk of bursting is higher. If we are going to change our pouch, we want it to be more than lip service that risks the nutritional profile and chance of burst pouches.

We are working on this constantly. Employees at Huel care as much about the issues of plastic pollution as much as anyone, and there is a great wish within the company to find a solution to reduce waste. However, that has to be an actual solution, and not something just to mislead you all so you’re placated and just makes for gR8 MaRkEtInG.

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The idea of using paper bags was just for short-term use - customers using this option would be expected to decant into their own containers (eg re-use of the current plastic pouches) when their order arrived. Would having the Huel in paper for such a short period really affect the nutrition that much?

You’re not considering storage and transport from production facility to our packing facility and then storage there. Huel doesn’t always go straight to the customer after being made. One of the great things about Huel is its shelf life and this is as much benefit to you guys as it is to us - we can store Huel safely for long periods of time.

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Okay, fair enough. I wasn’t taking into account you could have production and packing in different locations. Thanks for the explanation.

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Just wondering if returnable/ reusable packaging might be a way forward?

This has been discussed before. The logistics and energy consumption of returning then checking and cleaning returned packaging makes it unlikely.

I believe the compostable style packaging being introduced by Vivolife (if it can work and does work) with stuff like Huel is the way forward.

Lots of confusion around compostable packaging:

https://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/compostable-packaging-confusion

I agree, but Vivolife is 100% compostable…and you can compost it at home too.

Ana email I received:

It’s been a few weeks since I updated you on the progress of our home compostable packaging, so I thought I’d check in to let you know the latest!

Last week my colleagues Salvatore and Donna flew to Ireland to spend a full day with our manufacturers, and they came back with some exciting updates that I can now share with you.

Over the past months we have been working closely with our manufacturers to extensively test our materials, so we can be sure that they are fully compostable and non toxic to the environment in which they compost.

At the same time we also needed to ensure the materials were able to protect the quality of our product so it is safe to consume throughout its entire shelf life.

We wanted to do this before we commenced the printing process so we can be 100% confident our new packaging is entirely safe for both you and our planet!

I am delighted to tell you that the materials have passed all tests with flying colours, and we can now begin the print process.

In the picture above you can see a sample of our packaging after it has been exposed to composting conditions. We were able to acheive 70% breakdown within just 3 months when it was exposed to the usual heat and humidity that you would associate with normal composting.

Based on these tests our manufacturers have predicted the following:

Industrial composting: we estimate the packaging will decompose completely in 3 to 6 months when exposed to industrial composting conditions (e.g: local food waste service)

Home composting: we estimate the packaging will decompose completely between 9 to 24 months in home composting conditions (variance depending on your climate).

Along with these tests we have also tested our materials for toxicity to demonstrate that they don’t have adverse effects on plants, worms or marine life.

Having home compostable packaging is one thing, but we needed to ensure that the materials were entirely bio-based and non-distruptive to flora and fauna.

Again I am delighted to tell you that materials used in our new packaging have passed these tests without any issues!

With the extensive testing process taking a little longer than we thought we are now estimating the first pouches to be available from September 2019.

Whilst we didn’t want to delay their launch any further, we wanted to be 100% confident that our packaging was everything we promised it to be before bringing it to market. These tests were an essential part of that process and we were not prepared to skip them to push the launch forward.

The good news is now these tests are complete we can go full steam ahead with production, and we are still on track to have all of our products in home compostable packaging by the end of 2019!

Thank you for being so supportive of us on this journey. As always we will keep you updated every step of the way and will let you know as soon as our new packaging is available.

If you have any questions about our home compostable packaging you can contact us at any time.

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There is no local food waste service in my area. Hoping there will be soon.
Do you have a home composting bin? I don’t have one of those either.

Everyone should have a home composting bin!
If you have a garden that is… :laughing: