Pringles tubes are being redesigned - here’s why

Monday, 14th September 2020, 2:58 pm
Updated Monday, 14th September 2020, 2:58 pm
Pringles are undergoing a redesign to make them more recyclable (Credit: Shutterstock)
Pringles are undergoing a redesign to make them more recyclable (Credit: Shutterstock)

The distinctive Pringles can design will start to look different in the next few months, as owner Kellogg’s tries to address a major issue with their packaging - they’re a nightmare to recycle.

The instantly recognisable design contributes to the product’s 15 month shelf life. But, with around three million cans made every day in Europe alone, there’s a clear need to reduce the environmental footprint associated with the snack.

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What was the problem?

The moreish potato-based snacks come in a distinctive tube, but the makeup of this iconic packaging make Pringles cans very difficult to recycle, according to experts.

The main issue is that the old cans were fairly complex, using metal, plastic, foil and cardboard components.The Recycling Association highlighted the Pringles tube as its number one recycling villain, alongside the Lucozade Sports bottle, in 2017.

What has changed?

The redesigned tube, which has been in development for 12 months, will be made up of 90 per cent paper and approximately 10 per cent plastic, to create a seal which protects the contents against moisture and oxygen.

The lid for the new tube, which Kellogg’s claims will make the same ‘pop’ sound associated with the product, will be recyclable, with plastic and cardboard versions currently on trial in Tesco stores.

Will it make a difference?

While the redesign has been described as “an improvement”, experts have raised some concerns.They warn that it will not be clear until the product has been tested in recycling mills whether the plastic used for the seal will be recyclable. Experts have also advised that Kellogg’s should go with a cardboard lid.

Speaking to BBC News, Simon Ellin from the Recycling Association said, "The Pringles tube has been a bastion of bad design from the recyclers' point of view. This new version is an improvement, and we broadly welcome it.

"But, frankly, if they are going to stick to a plastic lid that’ll just add to problems with plastic pollution - people on picnics leave them behind and they find their way into streams and the sea. That plastic lid has got to go."