If you’re annoyed at not being able to recycle your Huel pouch, it’s a deliberate design choice made by the meal-replacement company after it discovered that biodegradable packaging actually creates more waste, founder Julian Hearn said.
The pouches of powdered “human fuel” are made from nonrecyclable plastic and are foil-lined to preserve the nutrients and vitamins inside, and robust enough to survive the journey to store shelves. Although each pouch contains 32 grams of plastic that has to be thrown away, one pouch contains enough powder to make 14 meals.
“We could today switch to a biodegradable pouch, but we know that’s weak, and we’ve tested it and know that it will split open once it goes through the delivery network. And then that 1.75 kilos of food has to be thrown away,” said Hearn speaking at the Forbes Under 30 Summit Europe.
“So there’s actually more waste produced by doing this. It’s a conscious decision to choose a plastic which is nonrecyclable but stronger, and its foil-lined so it protects the vitamins so that they can last 12 months.”
He added that the company has recently tested a recyclable pouch with a UV liner so that the foil is not needed anymore, but the new prototype packing needs to pass a 12-month testing process on the shelf.