15 million and counting: Wiltshire Farm Foods leads the way with world first meal tray recycling scheme

By Nick Batten on 25 October, 2023

Trowbridge-based meal delivery business, Wiltshire Farm Foods, has been making a real difference to the planet with the help of its customers, by collecting and recycling meal trays through its world-first, closed-loop system. 

After just two years of operation, and in support of WRAP Recycle Week (which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary), the ready meal provider has announced it has now recycled over 15 million of its trays nationwide within this closed-loop recycling process – the first ever of its kind on an industrial scale.

This innovative service involves collecting washed, used trays directly from customers and sending them back to a specialist recycling facility in Durham. Here, they are recycled into brand new trays which are then distributed back to the company for use.

Thomas Prangley, Retail Sales and Operations Manager at the site in Trowbridge, said, “Our customers thoroughly enjoy taking part in this process, with many of them comparing it to when the milkman used to collect their empty milk bottles! We know that they feel reassured in the knowledge that they are doing the right thing for the environment to support future generations. 

“We’re proud to be playing our part in this pioneering initiative and hope to keep encouraging even more of our customers to take part.” 

The trays are scrubbed clean at a specialist recycling facility and then redistributed

The latest RECOUP Household Plastic Packaging Collection Survey showed that around 47% of plastic placed into household recycling is then sent abroad for processing with uncertain results. Comparatively, Wiltshire Farm Foods guarantees that 100% of the trays collected back will be recycled into brand new trays here in the UK.

This commitment to protecting the environment remains a key priority to the company, especially with its packaging, leaving its customers with 97% less packaging than other ready-meal brands.

Thomas concluded, “We believe it’s the right way to do business and we know our customers agree with us and support our sustainability values”. 

The news follows Wiltshire Farm Foods and its sister company apetito being recognised for the tray recycling scheme at the RECOUP Awards.