Newton Abbot Plastic Free Community

There are opportunities to make changes and help customers build awareness of good practise when it comes to disposing of waste.

Our local family run pizza restaurant has a growing take away and delivered food business. The family have strong ethical and social values, and welcomed collaborating with PFC Newton Abbot. They realize that not all packaging ends up where it should, and they want to ensure their business is as sustainable as possible.

Five items were reviewed.

1) Cardboard Pizza Boxes – recyclable even with grease stains, but some customers will add sauces to their pizza using the lid of the box. If so, this box is consigned to residual waste (black wheelie bin) and not suitable to be recycled in Green box. Suggestion. Use a printed paper liner that explains how the householder can “save the planet” and avoid using the Refuse black bin (this might be fundable from local Council). Paper if it “tears white” can go in the Sack for Paper, or home composted. Comment. Corrugated paper liners for the base of the Pizza, protect the box, and allow airflow under the dough this helps the Pizza breathe and keep it hotter and crispier for longer.

2) PP Box and Lid – these must be suitable for microwave and be leak proof. Customers sometimes reheat at home. Teignbridge do recycle PP which is categorised as Plastic type 5. To be recycled the box and lid must be clean from “three-dimensional waste” i.e., no bits of food and recycled in the Black box. Comment. Not all plastic containers are microwave safe, check to see if they have the microwave safe logo (illustration of microwave). It could be argued that PET and HDPE plastics are more widely recycled but not all containers made from PET and HDPE are microwave safe.

3) PLA vegware pots – Polylactic Acid containers are made from fermented glucose extracted from milled corn. Teignbridge do not have facilities to recycle this plastic. It is not home compostable and can only be composted industrially. There are questions about the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and how the corn might be grown.  Cambridge County Council is one of the first authorities to collect PLA with other waste for composting. Suggestion. Compostable Sugarcane (Bagasse) pots and lids are widely available, these are generally home compostable, but do vary and they must be certified as recyclable and food safe.  One thing to bear in mind on bagasse (all bagasse) is the presence of PFAS as the grease resistant agent.  This is a group of numerous “forever chemicals”, some of which are banned (PFOS and PFOA) as they are carcinogenic. If the bagasse is recyclable, it can go in the Green box as long as they are free from “three-dimensional waste” i.e., no bits of food. Comment. Check the Sugar cane is sustainably sourced.

4) PP Pizza Lid support tripods – These rigid plastic supports prevent Pizza Boxes from crushing, the supports are plastic type 5 and can be recycled in the Black box. Comment. Pizza Boxes are available that are rigid enough to not need the tripod supports, also there are wooden alternatives made from two interlocking pieces of wood shaped into a cross.

5) Foil lined paper bags – keep baguettes warm. These are not recyclable. Suggestion. “Hot & Crispy” bags are available in many sizes, these are made from double layer perforated paper which provides good insulation and keeps the food warmer for longer and lets moisture out of the bag, so food stays hot and crispy. This is recyclable in the Green box if clean from food waste.


Any form of delivered food will require packaging that is functional, the challenge is to make it easy for the householder to dispose of it in a way that is easy and has least impact on the environment.