How a potato-based snack holds up a mirror to reflect today’s society

What’s your favourite potato-based snack?

If it’s Pringles, then you are unwittingly helping to destroy the planet.

Okay, that’s rather direct but news, headlined Pringles tube tries to wake from ‘recycling nightmare’, sets out the problem.

The cylindrical container has been condemned as a ‘recycler’s nightmare’ due to its complex construction with a metal base, plastic cap, metal tear-off lid, and foil-lined cardboard sleeve.

Along with the Lucozade Sports bottle, Pringles tubes have been dubbed the number-one recycling villain by The Recycling Association.

While Pringles owner Kellogg’s is now testing a simpler can, and Lucozade manufacturer Suntory has plans for a 2021 revision, it highlights something that has changed; people’s attitudes to the environment.

Or, perhaps not.

What has changed is that people who don’t take recycling and environmental awareness seriously are becoming fewer.

This is because the generation under the age of 30 – who have only known the internet and recycling – have an environmental awareness more passionate and highly-tuned than ‘middle-agers’ and older folk.

Natural processes mean that by 2050 – the date by when the UK’s net-zero target is due to be met – today’s young people all be in under-60 age group.

“The under-30s – who have only known the internet and recycling – have an environmental awareness more passionate and highly-tuned than ‘middle-agers’ and older folk.”

And it’s not about being ‘politically correct’, or any other phrase.

Assemble a group of under-30s and you’ll quickly discover an enthusiasm and passion for the environment that is very real and genuine.

You’ll also find a group of people who would seriously consider buying other potato-based snacks instead of Pringles, if they knew that the tube is almost impossible to recycle.

That’s partly the point of the Recycling Association’s PR – to make people aware and force through change.

Under-30s are also more interested in whether their bus has a ‘green’ power source, and how packages are delivered. Indeed, the whole supply chain.

And, some of those 20-somethings are already in positions of influence in companies.

That’s why transport – the glue that binds our economy together – must be greener and soon. Because the people want it to happen now, not in 2049.

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