New Heinz Ketchup Packet May Be Convenient, But is it Recyclable?

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You can pull back the lid for dipping or tear off the tip for squeezing using the new Heinz Dip & Squeeze packet. But currently it’s unclear whether or not you can recycle the new ketchup package once its empty.

“The point is to appeal to consumers as well as customers,” says Erin Swanson, a stock analyst who covers H.J. Heinz Co. for Morningstar, an independent research and consulting firm that provides analysis on retailers and consumer-related stock.

According to Heinz’s Corporate Social Responsibility Report, the company has pledged a 20 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2015, compared to its baseline year of 2005. This also includes a 20 percent reduction (per unit of finished production) through increased recycling and reuse of waste.

The new Heinz packets hold three times as much ketchup, which may cut down on the amount of single-serving packets consumers toss. Photo: Business Wire

But when asked if the new packets could be recycled, representatives from Heinz were unsure.

If the photos of the new Dip & Squeeze packet are any indication of what it may actually look like, it’s possible that the plastic part of the packet may be recyclable after the top is peeled off.

As of the writing of this article, Heinz representatives were looking into what plastic resin the new packet is made from.

But the new packets are more environmentally friendly in one sense: They hold three times as much ketchup, so consumers are throwing away one empty ketchup packet instead of three.

That’s a huge reduction in packaging, considering that Heinz sells about 11 billion single-serve packets of ketchup per year around the world. To put that into perspective, that’s two packets for every person on the planet.

“I think from that standpoint you may reduce waste, just by putting three times as much into a packet, then you would under the current system,” says Morningstar restaurant analyst, R. J. Hottovy.

Although Hottovy is not an expert on the Heinz Ketchup packaging, he has noticed a trend in restaurants trying to be more eco-friendly. However, he says a lot of companies have been slow to follow through with their initiatives.

Hottovy has also observed that over the past 18-24 months there has been a conscious effort in the restaurant space to preserve costs, and limiting condiment use is one of the top ways these companies are squeezing their budgets.

“I suspect that they won’t have these [new packets] out on the counter, and they’ll probably have a limited amount that they’ll provide to customers as well,” he says.

However, even with the advent of the Heinz Dip & Squeeze packet, the ketchup company plans to continue manufacturing the old, non-recyclable aluminum squeeze package that dates back to 1968.

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