Britain’s growing “lunch on the go” habit is generating nearly 11bn items of packaging waste a year, much of which is not recycled, a survey has found.

Workers are buying takeaway and fast food lunches more than they did five years ago, according to research from the environmental charity Hubbub, generating 10.7bn separate items of waste over a year, the charity estimates, from sandwich boxes to crisp packets and napkins.

The survey of more than 1,200 workers found an average lunch purchase included four packaged items, with 76% of shoppers picking up a main item such as a boxed sandwich, 70% a packet of crisps or another snack and 65% a napkin.

The majority – 64% – said they bought lunch on the go more now than they did five years ago – spending £13.6bn annually, the research found. More than a quarter said this was because they were too busy to make their own. It is also a result of the UK’s evolving food culture, with 20% of workers saying there are more places to eat out now and 19% saying eating out is more tempting than it used to be.

“Lunch-on-the-go items create huge levels of waste and unfortunately much of this isn’t recyclable as it’s made from mixed materials or isn’t recycled due to contamination from food residue,” said Trewin Restorick, the chief executive of Hubbub.

“By planning lunches in advance and using up items in your fridge you can massively reduce the amount of packaging you use while saving money by cutting down on food waste.

Orginal Source