Wiltshire Farm Foods in Great Dunmow - which provides meals for over-75s - demonstrated their recycling system during a visit from MP Kemi Badenoch.

The company, which delivers nationwide to a customer base with an average age of 82, showed Mrs Badenoch their recycling system at their depot in High Cross Lane.

Washed, used plastic trays are collected directly from customers and sent to a specialist recycling facility in Durham, where they are turned into brand new trays for the company's meals - containing a minimum of 80 per cent recycled plastic.

Lee Sheppard, director of corporate affairs, policy and sustainability for Wiltshire Farm Foods, said: "Our closed-loop recycling scheme demonstrates the serious approach we’ve taken to reducing waste within our packaging.

"It’s why we’ve never used cardboard sleeves for our meals, so the only thing we leave with the customer is the film lid.

"In just over one year of operation, we have successfully collected over 10 million meal trays back from our customers and are seeing collection rates close to 50 per cent, with a 100 per cent guarantee that all of the trays collected are reformed into new trays."


As part of their environmental efforts, the company also aims to avoid secondary packaging such as cardboard sleeves, while the boxes that meals are delivered in are used multiple times by drivers before being recycled.

Mrs Badenoch said: "I was pleased to visit the depot in my constituency and learn more about the service they provide to our local area, as well as the company’s commitments to increasing recycling through a closed-loop system for its meal trays.

"We also discussed the investments Wiltshire Farm Foods is making in future-looking systems to support their environmental impact, and it’s good to hear that local customers are enjoying being involved in the process."

Wiltshire Farm Foods delivers to more than 150,000 customers across the UK, with an estimated 11,100 people over 75 living in the Saffron Walden constituency.

Customers can choose from a range of meals and desserts, along with lighter snacks and meals with extra-dense calories for those with smaller appetites.