Where to throw the disposable ready meal trays?


There are more and more people who do not have time to cook, and prefer to enjoy the convenience of food delivery and ready meals. Does it ring a bell? and many times you will wonder where to throw the disposable trays in which the food comes.

Aluminium foil container trays

With the rise of delivery services, food delivery trays have become very present in our day-to-day packaging. They are recyclable, but, with so many different types, confusion is served.

Once mentioned by ​Frank O’Neill, business development manager with Nicholl Food Packaging

“There is a big move among supermarkets to make use of food packaging materials which are either recyclable or compostable. The new material meets both these criteria,”

said to BakeryandSnakcs.com

Depending on the food inside, one type of tray or another is used. Because it is not the same to have to transport a salad as a soup. In the same way, some are more ecological than others. Let’s look at it carefully!


Types of disposable trays

They are usually classified according to the material with which they are made. These are the main types that we can meet when we receive our food at home:

Aluminum trays

They are characterized by their great ability to maintain the temperature of the dishes inside, and can be used for both hot and cold meals. Aluminum is a light and resistant material, which can be rigid or semi-rigid, and insulates the inner food perfectly.

In addition, these trays have a very economical price, so they are usually the first option for most restaurants that offer their take-away menus.

Plastic trays

These trays can usually be made with different types of plastic. One of the most used is the OPS. OPS trays are the typical transparent ones with a tight-fitting lid, which are made of a material derived from polystyrene (ps). They are usually used for hot foods, although they are also suitable for cold dishes.

One of its main advantages is the ability to protect food against external agents, such as microbes and bacteria. Although they have a lower tolerance to direct projection at high temperatures (such as microwaves), they are very rigid containers and withstand high temperatures.

Cardboard trays

This type of trays are usually used for solid and dry dishes, such as fried and snacks. The most used type of cardboard is kraft, a very resistant material that is microwavable, supports hot foods and can also be refrigerated. And in addition, it is biodegradable, although some kraft cardboard containers usually come with a plastic lid.

Sugar cane trays

They are the most ecological since they consume less resources and energy in their manufacture and are also biodegradable and compostable. They resist heat well and are suitable for microwaves.

They are usually used for all kinds of dishes, since the material is treated to admit sauces and fats. So they are not only useful, but also a great option to give a sustainable image to customers.


How to recycle disposable aluminum trays?

Disposable aluminum trays are one of the most frequent packaging products in any hospitality and food sales business, whether in bulk or retail. That is why, from Nicholl Food Packaging we have thought it interesting to address its recycling, even more considering how important this issue is currently.

Which container do I throw the single-use aluminum trays of my business into?

Disposable aluminum trays are one of the essentials for takeaway food businesses. Thanks to their packaging characteristics, they allow food to be preserved optimally during the journey from the premises to the customer’s home.

This makes the use of these aluminum containers very frequent in businesses and restaurants with delivery services. For this reason, users should know the correct ways to dispose of these containers, throw them away and recycle them effectively.

First of all, the user should know that these aluminum containers should be thrown into the yellow container. In addition, the so-called “ball theory” must be applied. That is, these aluminum containers and utensils must be separated into different bags according to their hardness and the ability they have to turn into a ball.

Recycling of disposable aluminum trays: semi-rigid aluminum containers

In this regard, aluminum containers are divided into three types, according to their ability to turn into a ball:

  • Rigid aluminum containers: cans for drinks and soft drinks.
  • Semi-rigid aluminum products: trays of pre-cooked foods, tubs of custard or yogurts.
  • Flexible aluminum packaging: aluminum films for packaging food or yogurt lids.

The single-use aluminum trays are part of the category of aluminum semi-rigid containers. These are malleable enough to turn them into a ball, which the user will have to form before putting them in the bag or trash can. This way they will be ready for recycling.


Each tray in its place

Taking into account the material from which the tray is made, we will deposit it in one container or another. Although be careful; we have already seen that some can combine different materials.

  • Aluminum tray are thrown in the yellow container: the aluminum of these disposable trays is a semi-rigid material that can be recycled, separating it in the yellow container. But be careful, they usually bring a cardboard sheet as a lid that should be thrown into the blue container.
    The plastic tray are thrown in the yellow container: the entire container (tray and lid) is usually plastic, so both parts can be disposed of in the yellow container.
  • Cardboard tray are thrown in the blue container: being made kraft cardboard should be deposited in the blue container. Sometimes, they usually carry a plastic lid. In these cases we will separate it to throw it into the yellow container.
  • Tray of sugar cane are thrown into the organic container : being biodegradable and compostable, we must separate them in the organic container (not the rest) so that they become fertilizer.
  • Whether they are made of aluminum, plastic, cardboard or organic, before throwing the trays in the corresponding container remember to remove the food scraps and clean them, to facilitate their recycling.


The best option? Reuse

These trays, although they are designed to be discarded after consuming the contents inside, can be reused.

Maybe they don’t allow us to transport food anymore, but surely we can still use them to store the leftovers of the next meals in the fridge when we finally get up the courage to cook.

From now on, when you order at home, remember that here you have all the information on a tray to separate the containers correctly.


Do you know the packaging automation for food and ready-meal trays?

The large consumption of ready meal and prepared meals stands for the correspondingly large packaging demand and the probable packaging waste produced. From this point of view, it is essential to maintain a sustainable approach to ready-meal packaging, packaging solutions and packaging automation. Companies around the world such as Westrock, ADCO Manufacturing, Schuy, Kliklok Woodman, Paker, ELITER Packaging Machinery, and many others, are all working to offer sustainable packaging automation and packaging machines for prepared and ready meals, and pack trays of meals and food delivery in cardboard sleeve.