"....but you have to separate the cardboard from any plastic. Just pop it along to your local recycling centre, and place it in the relevant bin."
Well what can I say? I must be in chocolate heaven and so close to Christmas too! Not only am I sat enjoying a box of yummy Thorntons chocolate mints, but the considerate product designers have included instructions on what I should do with the packaging.
It's common knowledge that one of the problems with getting people to recycle is the lack of knowledge about whether something can be recycled. Indeed 48% of recyclers interviewed for WRAP's Barriers to Recycling study admitted to throwing things in the bin because they weren't sure what to do.
Which is why explicit instructions on consumer products is an absolute necessity.
So if you're the type of person who screams at products that whisper the words "Recyclable if facilities exist" with no hint of the materials used, you'll be inspired by Thorntons' range of chocolates that shout their credentials so loudly you'll no longer need a degree to work out your options.
Take the Mint Collection for example. The instructions explicitly state that the plastic used is 50% recycled PET, enabling consumers to check local facilities with confidence. The cushion pad that protects the chocolates can be recycled too, as it's just paper. I know that from simply reading the box. I didn't even have to tear it up to work it out.
How refreshing to find a product where there is no ambiguity over its core packaging. This is most definitely a worthy zero waste benchmark, especially as Thorntons are one of the few chocolate manufacturers to avoid wrapping their products in that annoyingly awkward film. Of course if I wanted to be picky, I would suggest an extra note for recycling the foil wrappers, but I'll be thankful for small mercies that things are moving in right direction.
And Thorntons aren't the only ones at it. It seems Nestle have been making an effort too, proudly announcing their kids' selection box now uses 40% less packaging than previous products and boasts clear instructions to recycle the plastic tray, which itself is made from 50% recycled PET (RPET) and 75% recycled board.
Yes I know it's cheaper and a more sensible zero waste option to pick your own selection and package them up yourself, but millions of people buy these things and even I remember the excitement over that special box at Christmas, so this feels like positive progress too.
But we can't forget that all these positive noises about recycling come at a time when the market for recyclables has taken a nose-dive. The good news is that WRAP has just launched a help service for local authorities that have concerns about their mounting piles of materials and their advice to the public is to keep recycling what packaging you can. I suppose these resources are just like stocks and shares. What's down one day is up the next and markets are still available for quality products, just as these chocolate boxes illustrate. Now that should inspire consumer confidence.
And talking about quality products...it's time to get back to that box of chocolates. Well this is The Rubbish Diet after all...but at least you know I'll be responsible with the empty box.