Recyclable packaging


#1

Hello

First time poster. Been using Huel on/off for about 2 years now.

Like a lot of people, I’m increasingly conscious of my plastic/non-recyclable waste and making efforts to avoid it where possible. The Blue Planet guilt is strong. It seems to me to be a no-brainer that the packaging for Huel could and should be recyclable. I’ve searched the forum posts and seen this has been raised before but there’s no recent update.

I get that the environmental impact of the packaging is small compared to other foods. Nonetheless, being better than most doesn’t mean you can’t improve. There are existing comparators out there. Bags of flour / bags of porridge oats for example. Made of paper - this kind of packaging is light and seems ideal for Huel. They would fit neatly into boxes for posting out and everything. I already decant my Huel into an old plastic tub that I’ve had for 12 years, so personally I don’t need especially protective packaging to keep out the light etc.

I would even consider paying more if it was offered as an option and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

That’s my feedback anyway - otherwise loving your work.


Recyclable tubs?
Packaging
#2

I totally agree. One of the reasons I love Huel is because it cuts down the waste of food scraps as well as all the plastic packaging. It seems ironic that this environmentally conscious product comes in plastic packaging.

Like you said bags of flour have always come in paper bags. Huel is powdered food, just like flour.

I see no reason why the packaging can’t be changed.


#3

Hello,

I’ve seen this question before and from what I can tell, the reason Huel uses the current material is because they found no recycable alternative that offers a long shelf time (12 months) as well as proper protection for their vitamin and mineral blend.


#4

Hey there, thanks for the question. This has come up before and I pieced together a response here which I think will answer most of your concerns.

Let’s just remember this. The packaging impact of Huel is miniscule. If you lived off Huel 100% at 2000kcal/day, in one entire year you would use 53 pouches of Huel.

I can hold that amount of unrecyclable packaging in one hand…

Considering:
a) most don’t live off Huel
b) how most of us throw out at least one full black bin bag of unrecyclables per week

…this is tiny.

We could not agree more and we are working hard on a solution. Like I said in the above post:

The problem we are having with our pouches at the moment for example is their strength, if pouches break more then we end up with more spoiled and wasted Huel, contributing to total food waste.

there is no point focusing purely on plastic and neglect carbon emissions from vehicles and wastage from spoiled food.

It’s about total impact.

Thank you for your concerns. It’s phenomenal to have such an incredible group of like-minded, environmentally-conscious Huelers behind us and keep us thinking, reassessing and, hopefully, improving. Rest assured, our environmental impact is at the forefront of our minds.

:earth_africa::seedling::v:


#5

Not even slightly a concern of mine.
Purely considering my food for an entire month comes in what 5 pouches.
Imagine the thousands of gallons of water, hundreds of thousands of gallons in gasoline, metric tonnes of packong, and animal deaths it would have required to give me a months worth of meat and vegetables to counter my 5 pouches of huel plastic. I can understand the concern but there should be a cap in rational thought regarding the footprint in my opinion…

Food in pill form was always my goal and huel is as close as we have right now.


#6

Is re-use not an option at all? I get that the current packaging can’t be recycled - I also completely understand that the current packaging probably isn’t suitable for re-use but would it be easier to redesign the packaging (assuming it isn’t currently suitable) so it can be sent back, sterilised and then re-used rather than simply thrown away?

Obviously sending packaging back does have a bit of a carbon footprint, but if it’s sent back via royal mail it should be negligable, purely due to the fact that they’re going to be picking up post from post boxes/post offices, as well as delivering your post anyway, the only difference will be a tiny amount of extra weight.

If not, it might be time for us to come up with creative re-uses of our own. For example “your rain coat doesn’t have a hood? Just open up and put on your trusty Huel-branded Rain Hat! Lined with foil, it stops the government reading your thoughts, too!” :stuck_out_tongue:


#7

Appreciate the reply - it’s good to know it’s something you’re still working on.

In terms of “reduce, re-use, recycle”, you’ve got the reduce bit nailed at least. Still think if strength of bag is the issue then make the bags smaller :man_shrugging:. But anyway I hope you make progress on this soon! Guilt-free Huel is the goal obvs :sunglasses:


#8

With a biodegradable pouch that makes more sense, I guess expense will then unfortunately play a role in the decision, assuming biodegradable pouches are more expensive than our current. I’ve raised this before as an idea but will certainly mention it again.


#9

Do you re-use the bags yourself or throw them away?
As they are resealable if they are washed out they can be used to store things in.
As an example, when packing for a holiday, I always put liquids such as shampoo/conditioner in this type of bag in case they leak.
Works a treat!
There are so many other ways you can recycle them at home.
I agree with Calmwhiteguy.
In comparison to the byproducts of the meat and produce trade, a years supply of HUEL packaging is negligible.


#11

absolutely- I agree with that too. My question is more that if they’re looking into going one further, I wonder if “re-use” is more easily acheivable than “re-cycle”


#12

When I walked to my recycle bin to throw away my first empty packet of HUEL I was dismayed to find no recycle symbol.
I came to the forum to express my disappointment but had seen that so many had mentioned this before me and that HUEL’s response is that they are committed to finding an alternative packet that could be recycled but that this will take time. Fine. I’m okay with that if HURL is genuinely and proactively trying to resolve this.

I have not read every post regarding his topic but if HUEL wishes to feed the world then they must look after it too.
Even a small amount of waste is still waste.

I believe in the product, so I will have faith that an alternative solution will be made.


#13

I personally don’t have any secondary use for the packaging unfortunately. I immediately put my Huel into a bigger container which I find easier to access. I get that you may re-use it, which is great, however, when it’s reached the end of its useful second life it will still end up being something that’ll get buried in the ground or end up in the oceans.

As I mentioned in my original post, I understand the packaging is much reduced in comparison to other foods. My point though is: wouldn’t it be EVEN BETTER if the packaging was recyclable? Obviously yes.


#14

Great to see people are still bringing up this point.

Still disappointing to hear the same old answer being copy pasted from my post in Feb. There has been a call for recyclable packaging since 2015… I’m sure there must be suppliers out there who could provide better packaging.

Even just a bit of google searching and here are some options??
https://www.enviropack.org.uk/taxonomy/term/694
https://www.polybags.co.uk/shop/biodegradable-stand-up-pouches_c1633.htm
https://www.thebagbroker.co.uk/about-cs-truebiobag
https://bandgproducts.com/products/earthpouch-plastic-free-packaging/

It would be great to get an update on what Huel is working on hard to change the packaging and what the project’s expected timeline is.

Also just a final thought: What about larger packages of the current setup if you cannot change the material? We have 2 people in the house that use Huel so it feels like every month I’m buy 3 packages when it could be 1? Short term solution?

I understand the point about it being less packaging but I’ve been making a huge effort to go zero waste and Huel feels like a compromise. I buy all fruit and veg unpackaged direct from farms, meat package free from butcher, use the scraps from food to make stocks and compost the rest. Other items in my life I try to source with a circular economy, going back to supplier or bulk buying to have less to recycle.
It is disappointing that I have to put Huel in landfill. I know I could stop buying it but it has been really go for my life living with chronic illness.

Please do better.
Thanks


#15

But with all due respect, this is your choice and your life. With the amount of work that goes into Huel and the way in which they proactively take on feedback and work on it (as we’ve seen countless times on this forum from @JamesCollier and @TimOfficialHuel ), are you not trusting that they have either:

1: Got something in the works already
2: Exhausted all avenues of investigation for this
3: Found possible solutions to have negative impact to Huel as a product and/or brand

I just feel like there are people who will never be happy and have unrealistic demands of a business that is already 100% the most environmentally conscious company I’ve come across.

It’s all well and good having your own strong opinions on this but if Tim says it’s been looked at with no solution let’s bloody well get behind him and trust the statement instead of just QQing this thread.

The only extremely valid point I’ve seen brought up is the larger bags. I’d happily buy a 2.5KG bag with full confidence that I’d use it within two weeks.

Any kind of reusable packaging that has to be sent back to Huel instantly has a bigger carbon footprint than one that ends up in landfill. The only economical and environmentally efficient way of doing this would be bundling say 100 bags together and THEN sending them back.

We can make the excuse “yes but that delivery lorry would be travelling that way regardless”, but if we start making assumptions and forgetting the little details then we may as well all just give up on the environment.


#16

I also trust that they have looked into it without finding a solution. Also, in my case, I am not willing to pay extra for a recycable bag. Huel is already fairly costly for my strained economy - even if many save money using Huel, I am not one of them. I do feel good on it and I love Huel so I manage. But an increase in price, even slightly, might mean I can no longer afford it.

However, I can get behind bigger bags. I use a bag in 6 days or so.


#17

We’ve done extensive drop tests on a number of pouches very similar to this. Paper is not strong enough to hold 1.75kg of Huel. If we switched to something like this, please consider the implications:

You’ve spent £40 or more on your Huel and you find it burst I expect, like most, you would email customer service and request a replacement, refund and/or throw away the burst pouch. Which wastes possibly 28,000kcal of food, and increases carbon footprint from extra delivery. From our side this is bad financially too. This is what it looks like when a pouch bursts:

Now as you can see this already happens very occasionally with our current, extremely strong pouches. This effect would be multiplied 10x I expect if we switched to a fully biodegradable pouch with what we’ve looked at. Here’s why:

Currently we can get a 1.5kg biodegradable pouch, but it would only work if the pouch was basically handheld the entire journey it just isn’t suitable for ecom. Packages get dropped, thrown and damaged between us and the consumer. No one that sells powdered products has tried this with the 1.5kg pouch. The only people that have tried it are dog food companies, it works for them because biscuits, when dropped, disperse their pressure evenly focusing the pressure everywhere. Powder’s weight is all through the bottom of the pouch on the seams and means the bottom falls out/seams at bottom break. There isn’t currently a glue that is strong enough to prevent this.

We could do a ‘recyclable’ pouch. The problem then is the infrastructure, yes it could be ‘recycled’ but if not many places recycles it then what’s the point? It’s an empty gesture which has marketing spin all over it.

We’re going to do it once and we’re going to do it right.

There is a timeline, we have a plan and possible solutions. This industry is slow, I can only apologise.


#18

Tim has convered most points. But I just want to add in respect of the returning and recylcling point - the pouched couldn’t just be refilled or there would be risk of microbial, allergen and foreign body contamination. This wouldn’t pass our quality procedures (nor would anyone want it to). The pouch would have to be mailed back, and cleaned throuroughly - that would have more of an envirnmental impact than the pouch.


#19

i’m sorry but the response from @TimOfficialHuel although polite and friendly, is a bit of a cop out. ‘we produce plastic waste that goes in landfill or the oceans m’lord, but it’s less than others produce’. yeah.

Where there is a will there is a way. There’s natural waxed paper/card, even organic. How about plastic made from corn starch that bio-degrades after contact with water in your compost. If i was not typing i could be writing with my Corn biro.
i’m reading the back of my 1.75kg bag of Huel now. no info on how i should recycle or bio-degrade it after use. Nothing, nada, zillo. Hello this is 2018, we put a man on the moon in 1969.


#20

Not strong enough for the reasons Tim mentioned.

Huge issue if the places you are shipping from or to are too humid. Also provide a weaker layer of protection which is extremely important when you have all micronutrients necessary for bacterial growth present in one place, and only a moisture barrier is keeping it protected.

Your corn biro has nothing to do with food storage.

I was unaware the Huel team (who set up in 2013 I believe) were responsible for the moon landing.

Given Huel are a relatively new company, combined with the fact that the packaging industry doesn’t really have anything available in the required size, it’s a little unfair to expect them to reduce their plastic waste to literally nothing.


#21

Hi, I wanna give voice to this problem too, I don’t like that we don’t have an option for now and I can understand that finding a solution that satisfies customers and the Huel team can be very hard. If this kinds of threads makes pressure on the Huel team towards a solution I’m happy to contribute.
Also, don’t wanna sound like the Huel team is betraying us or something, I’m sure that this topic is important to them too but delivering the product in a good status, being durable and as cheap as they can, weights more than the recyclable bag and I get it.

Good job Huel team, just keep looking into a solution.