Cathedral City launches the industry’s first recycling scheme

As the nation starts to emerge from lockdown, 44% of Brits say the extra time to reflect has inspired them to form positive new lifestyle habits. Shifting to a more sustainable mindset is now top of the agenda for many, with 44% admitting that environmental responsibility is more important to them now than before lockdown.  79% hope to be better at recycling in future, while two in five (44%) say lockdown has spurred them on to form more positive environmental habits, such as responsible recycling and cutting down on food waste.

Research released by Cathedral City reveals 70% of Brits admit to breaking recycling rules, while a shocking 3 in 10 do not check recycling information on food packaging before throwing it in the bin. A quarter (25%) say that disruption to recycling services has forced them to be less sustainable, while 39% report an increase in household waste during lockdown. Despite this, 65% feel guilty about their bad habits and four in five want to improve them in the future. What’s more, many Brits want to maintain positive lockdown habits moving forward, with 73% saying they intend to continue taking the time to recycle packaging properly.

To support the nation’s bid to break bad habits and become more eco-conscious, Cathedral City has launched the industry’s first recycling scheme for all flexible film cheese packaging, no matter the brand. This partnership with recycling experts TerraCycle® is the latest step in Cathedral City’s path to a more sustainable future; with the ultimate goal of launching packaging which can be disposed of in standard household recycling collections by 2022.

A category-first packaging scheme for all

The Cheese Packaging Recycling Programme, Britain’s first programme to recycle all flexible film cheese packaging, is set to accelerate positive recycling habits and support a nation on a mission to be more sustainable. Cheese-lovers will be encouraged to collect film packaging from their favourite cheese brands and drop it off at public access drop-off points across the UK, where TerraCycle® collection boxes will be available. The collected plastic is sent away for free to TerraCycle® by the location administrator before being sorted, aggregated and sent for processing.  The collected plastic is then shredded, washed and converted into pellets or flakes which can be moulded into durable products such as outdoor furniture or waste bins.

Cheese film packaging is notoriously difficult to recycle due to the fact that it is made up of a number of different layers.  These layers help to ensure that the cheese doesn’t become contaminated before opening, has a good best before date and stays fresher for longer, which also helps to reduce food waste. The investment into 100% recyclable packaging will be a category-first move towards a more sustainable future.

A bigger positive impact

With many using the last few months to reset their priorities, positive change has already been observed during lockdown – most notably, 36% have recycled more in the lockdown period. 44% of Brits say lockdown has spurred them on to form more positive recycling and food waste habits – this increased momentum for change has driven many to adopt long-lasting, sustainable behaviours post-pandemic, with 79% hoping to be better at recycling in the future and four in 10 giving leftover food to friends and family rather than binning it.

The top ten positive habits developed in lockdown which Brits intend to maintain moving forward include:

  1. Taking the time to recycle packaging appropriately (73%)
  2. Daily walks in the local area (71%)
  3. Checking what I have in my fridge/cupboards before buying more items (70%)
  4. Checking in more regularly with friends and family over the phone/online (66%)
  5. Making more use of local green spaces including parks and gardens (60%)
  6. Spending more time reading (58%)
  7. Spending more time gardening (56%)
  8. Trying new recipes to make the most of the food in the fridge/cupboards (50%)
  9. Spending more time cleaning the house (49%)
  10. Taking virtual workouts and exercise classes (25%)

An education in recycling

Making sure good intentions are here to stay calls for a step change in recycling education – almost half (49%) of Brits admit they are confused by recycling rules. Many have turned to so-called ‘wish-cycling’, attempting to recycle their non-recyclable packaging – 37% of Brits admit to ‘wish-cycling’, with 21% feeling guilt-tripped by peers and climate activists to recycle more.

When it comes to helping the nation into more sustainable behaviour, 66% do not think that brands have been doing enough, while 78% would like recycling information to be clearer on product packaging. Meanwhile, 39% have become disillusioned with recycling, as they are not confident it will end up being recycled.

Cathedral City is on a mission to cut down on packaging waste and ensure recycling processes and rules are clear and informed – the updated packaging from the cheese brand which is now in market, , will display simple and straightforward directions for recycling, and information on the TerraCycle® scheme.

Fighting food waste

Not only are Brits cautious about recycling behaviours, 46% are feeling more conscious of avoiding food waste now than they did before lockdown. 48% will take more steps to reduce food waste compared to before lockdown, while 69% intend to continue only buying items they will definitely need.

What’s more, shortages in supermarkets and difficulty getting to the shops regularly during lockdown means many Brits are getting inventive with the food they have in. 56% of Brits want to continue trying new recipes to make the most out of the food they have in stock, while 69% will continue freezing unused food to make it last longer and 53% will buy lower amounts of food overall. As the big weekly shop returns and consumers limit their trips to the supermarket, Brits are buying food with a longer shelf life – 60% have opted to buy ingredients which will keep for longer, such as UHT milk and cheese.

Lee Willett, Marketing Director at Cathedral City, owned by Saputo Dairy UK said: “As we ease out of lockdown, it is reassuring that many Brits intend to continue with positive lifestyle habits established during this challenging time. Efforts to improve recycling habits and drive collective sustainable change are fantastic to see and we want to encourage and champion this mindset in the long-term. We want to lead our industry towards a more sustainable future and this partnership with TerraCycle® is the latest step in our ambition to develop packaging which is 100% recyclable kerbside by 2022. Cheese lovers can now fully enjoy our products knowing the packaging has a second life – the nation’s favourite should never go to waste, and neither should its packaging.”

Laure Cucuron, General Manager, TerraCycle® Europe said: “TerraCycle® is always looking for solutions to new waste streams and so it is truly fantastic that Cathedral City is partnering with us to make recycling cheese packaging a possibility in the UK for the first time. We are excited to work with such a forward thinking brand which is striving to reduce its environmental impact and we are thrilled to be a part of that goal.”

The recycling programme from Cathedral City and TerraCycle® is now live – you can find out more about the programme and identify your local drop-off point here: