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Heinz Introduces 100% Recyclable Plastic Lid in Bid to Combat Pollution

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One of the most challenging aspects of recycling is keeping track of what’s recyclable and what’s not. Plastic lids are often not recyclable. Despite that fact, millions end up in landfills every year. Now Heinz is doing something about it.

The Problem With Plastic Lids

Recycling requires consumers or recycling companies to make sure that different materials are separated and sorted. One of the issues with plastic lids is that they’re often made out of multiple types of plastic that are fused together.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

For example, the old Heinz Cap incorporated several types of plastic. These included a silicone material that was built into the cap. Recycling facilities were required to separate the silicone in order to process it before it could be recycled.

Plastics And The Environment

Plastics have their uses. They’re convenient and lightweight. In many cases, they can be recycled. The issues that occur mostly happen as a result of plastics that can’t be recycled or are difficult to recycle. Plastics can impact the environment in a variety of ways.

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When they’re added to landfills, plastic bottles and lids can take a very long time to decompose. In some cases, they may remain for decades. They can even leach plastic and chemicals into the ground and into water.

Why Aren’t Most Plastic Lids Recyclable?

Plastic lids are usually not recyclable. They’re composed of many small parts that are made out of a variety of materials. These may include silicone and other difficult to recycle materials. As a result, millions of them add up in landfills.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The lack of recyclability has led to an array of problems. For consumers, there’s the issue of whether to put plastic lids in with their other recycling. For recycling companies, recycling them requires extra time and money.

Why Did Heinz Decide To Change Its Lids?

Heinz decided to change its lids as part of a global initiative to reduce plastic use. The company hasn’t shared much information about why it started the process, but we can guess at some of the factors that may have influenced them.

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Increasingly, there’s a drive for companies to become more eco-conscious in their product designs. Consumers may also have applied pressure. Ultimately, people may be willing to pay a bit more to buy products that aren’t destroying the planet.

Who Designed The New Heinz Lid?

The new Heinz lid was designed by Berry Global, a plastic packaging maker. Their sales director, Matthias Hammersen, said, “Heinz set us the kind of challenge that suits us and our development departments best: to reconstruct the design of the cap to make it 100% recyclable.”

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Hammersen talked about the importance of retaining the old caps’ performance. “We’re delighted that the finished result exceeds our initial expectations and actually improves the consumer experience.” The company put a lot of time and money into arriving at a design that delivered on expectations.

How Long Did It Take To Design The New Lid?

You might be surprised by just how long it took Heinz and Berry Global to come up with the new design. All in all, the two companies spent nine years and 185,000 production hours to design and test the new plastic lids.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

There were 45 different iterations of the new lid created before everyone agreed on the right design. Ultimately, Heinz spent $1.2 million dollars on the creation of the new recyclable lids. They think the time and expense was worth it and hope that consumers will too.

What’s The New Lid Made Of?

The new Heinz ketchup lid differs from the old one in terms of its component parts and what they’re made of. While the old cap used several types of plastic, the new and improved lid uses only one. It’s called mono-material polypropene.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Mono-material polypropene, or PP for short, is a material that is easily recycled. Because the lid is made entirely of PP, there are no parts that require sorting or separation before recycling. That means they’re easy to process and recycle.

An Award-Winning Design

The goal in redesigning Heinz’s lids was to produce a cap that would be eco-friendly. At the same time, it needed to be a positive change for consumers. The new bottle is one that looks similar to the old one and works in the same way.

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The new lids are fully recyclable. That means that it could prevent hundreds of millions of bottle caps from being added to landfills. The new cap design was awarded Rigid Pack of the Year at the U.K. Packaging Awards in 2023.

Where Is The New Lid Available?

As of early 2024, the new Heinz lid isn’t available everywhere. There’s a roll-out going on, but the first retailers to see bottles with the new lid are all in the United Kingdom. That means that shoppers at UK supermarkets will see them soon.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

It’s not clear yet when the new plastic lids will start to make an appearance on Tesco shelves. We assume that Heinz’s announcement means that UK shoppers will see them soon. There’s a lot of excitement around the launch of the new lids.

When Will The New Lid Be Available In The United States?

You might be wondering if and when the new Heinz lids will be available in the United States. The recent announcements from the company haven’t said anything specifically about a US rollout. Still, we expect it won’t be very long before they are available here.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Heinz has made other commitments related to the use of plastics. Their goals are clear and we think it’s likely that Heinz plans to make those new lids available at your local Stop and Shop or Kroger before too much longer.

Heinz And Virgin Plastics

Making their plastic bottle caps 100% recyclable isn’t Heinz’s only goal related to becoming a more eco-friendly company. They have also set a goal to reduce the company’s use of virgin (new) plastic by at least 20% on a global level.

Source: Unsplash/Marc Newberry

That 20% goal is one with an end-date of 2030. If the company achieves its goal of reducing its use of virgin plastic, that would mean 100 million fewer pounds of plastic going into landfills in less than ten years’ time.

What Can Consumers Do To Help?

You may be wondering what you can do as a consumer to reduce the amount of plastic going into landfills. There are obvious things, such as recycling everything that can be recycled. That means separating out those hard-to-recycle lids before putting out your recycling.

Source: torinocitylab

The biggest way you can help is voting with your dollars. When a company like Heinz takes the lead in reducing plastic waste, you can support their efforts by buying their products. You can also stay away from companies that don’t do the right thing.

Will Other Companies Follow Suit?

Heinz says they are “investing in innovative technologies” to “redesign packaging, eliminate unnecessary plastic, increase our use of recycled content, and influence the adoption of reuse models.” The question is whether other companies will follow their lead and do the same.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The bottom line is that the same innovative techniques that Heinz has used in designing their new plastic lids can point the way for other products and industries that use similar lids. These may include plastic lids for lotion, shampoo, and cleaning products.

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Aimee Partridge

Written by Aimee Partridge

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