For this exercise I have chosen to look at an object that intrigues me and I have chosen an old Smartie lid that I found on the beach in Bognor Regis.
When I was little, Smarties came in a cardboard tube and at the end of finishing your tube-usually by holding it in your mouth and letting all the smarties fall in at once, you would replace the plastic lid, chop the tube with your hand and fire off the top into the air.
http://www.thedrum.com/news/2014/09/29/nestl-creates-new-business-excellence-arm-and-redefines-its-european-zone-take-full-accessed 1st July 2017
After playing pretend rockets with the lid you always checked underneath to see which letter of the alphabet you had and you would try and collect them all to spell out your name or for swaps.
I have been sent a few lids over time that have been found on beaches mainly as I decided I wanted to start and collect them. Finding one myself was a massive deal as they are quite rare these days. As their material of choice was plastic I doubt they will ever break down.
The lid in general is probably nothing special, it is a childhood thing that since 2005 was changed to a ‘Hexa’ tube. It was a disgrace and I don’t think I have had smarties since if I am honest. There is a piece HERE about the breaking news and some of the comments are funny as it really was outrageous.
The original packet was a cardboard tube so recyclable I guess but this was a long time ago. The plastic lid however was not recyclable but maybe now they would be.
A Smarties history search said this about the lid and the alphabet letters-
The purpose of this, according to a Rowntree’s spokesperson in the 1980s, was for them to be useful as a teaching aid to encourage young children to recognise the letters. Over the last 25 years, Nestlé and Rowntree’s have manufactured five billion Smarties lids. Some lids are very rare and are now regarded as collectors’ items.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smarties-1st July 2017
The feel of the lid I found is quite rough as it has been in the sea or under pebbles on the beach for years. I didn’t think I would be able to date it but miraculously there is a Smartie lid identifier! My lid is from a metric packet so dated anywhere in the mid 1970’s to the early 90’s. The letter i is underneath mine and all lower case is the metric sized lid. The components of the lid is a hard plastic with Rowntrees stamped on one side and the letter on the other, there is a small lip to open them. Don’t believe me? look here-https://www.classaxe.com/smarties/uk/lids-1st July 2017.
‘In February 2005, the Smarties tube was replaced with a hexagonal design. The rationale behind changing the design was, according to Nestlé, to make the brand “fresh and appealing” to youngsters; the new packaging is also lighter and more compact, and the lid (which is now a hinged piece of cardboard) has a card clip which holds the lid shut when it is folded over. The new lid still features a letter like the old plastic lids, but it is in the form of a “what [letter] is a [thing]?” question, the answer for which can be read when the lid is open, next to the hole giving access to the rest of the tube. The hexagonal box is made of one piece of card which is die cut then folded and glued. The hexagon can also be stacked in many layers without the pile collapsing, which is an advantage at the point of sale. The last 100 tubes to leave the factory in York had a certificate inside them.’
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smarties– accessed 1st July 2017
Despite the lack of plastic spoke about here and the new flatter, thinner, hexagonal, recyclable,down with kids tubes all I am wondering is ‘Who got a certificate?’ ‘I want a Smarties certificate!’
I guess that something that is more than 35 years old has held up pretty well over time. I found it in the pebble bit of the beach so it could have been there all its life or floating around in the sea. Either way apart from some damage to the side of the cap it has survived well. I have tried to search for the plastics used but there is very limited if any information about that.
I suppose my object is a little peculiar to pick but with the amount of rubbish and plastics hovering around our seas and beaches it is one piece less that is collectable and old and part of my childhood.
I think the new Hexa tubes have spoilt it all a bit. The little tiny mini pack boxes you used to get a parties have also gone but if you look here- http://crispy_liz.webs.com/englishboxesbarsbags.html– there is all-sorts of packaging they used to supply that is all plastic and dyed and used chemicals, so I then felt bad and didn’t want the tube back so much.
Looking on Nestle’s website their environmental aims to reduce their packaging say that 93% of packaging is now recycled-this is a copy of their page.
Reducing packaging weight in our supply chain
From 2014 to 2015, Nestlé UK and Ireland removed over 425 tonnes of packaging from the supply chain through a number of design changes.
We constantly reduce the weight and volume of our packaging through design innovations. For example, by harmonising carton sizes for Nescafé Café Menucappuccino stickpacks, we have been able to save more than 163 tonnes of cardboard annually. As well as saving on packaging materials, we can now fit more packs onto one pallet. That means an estimated 14% fewer lorries on the road, per tonne of coffee distributed.
Encouraging consumers to recycle plastics
We know that our consumers are keen to recycle more. However, plastic recycling is an area that is often misunderstood, with many consumers confused about which plastics can be recycled, or unaware that plastic packaging can be recycled at all.
To help address the issue, we supported Pledge4Plastics, a national initiative launched by Recoup, the UK members-based plastics recycling organisation. The aim of Pledge4Plastics is to raise consumer awareness of the benefits of recycling plastics and to give them a better understanding of which plastics can be recycled through local authority collection services.
Alongside this, Nestlé Waters UK has been working in partnership with Recoup and Waste Buster to develop a recycling educational toolkit for primary and secondary schools in the UK. This has been launched successfully within local schools in Buxton.
Improving the recyclability of plastics
In 2015, we continued to work on collaborative projects to improve the recyclability of plastics. These include a project to explore the options for collecting flexible laminate packaging containing aluminium, so that the plastics can be recovered and converted into fuel, and the aluminium recycled.
As part of this project, we carried out a nine-month trial in 2015 to test the feasibility of including aluminium-based flexible laminate packaging in existing household recycling schemes. The trial used Enval’s pioneering aluminium recovery technology, and was funded by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The results of the trial will be released in 2016.
We are also collaborating with Innovate UK on a two-year research and development project to create a circular economy for flexible packaging. Due to complete by the end of 2016, the project aims to introduce new packaging designs which allow improved material recovery, along with marking and sorting techniques to make it easier to separate recyclable materials. Another planned outcome will be design guidelines for recyclability that are usable by all brand owners and retailers.
We will continue assessing the environmental impacts of packaging across its entire life cycle using our internal eco-design tools. We will also continue to engage in activities on communication and educational programs for consumers on recycling, as well as supporting innovative projects looking at new collection and recovery methods for packaging.
http://www.nestle.co.uk/csv2015/environmental-sustainability/packaging– accessed 1st July 2017
And for nice times, here are some old Smarties advert from the 80’s and 90’s- I wish I could go to Smarties place.
All websites and links accessed 1st July 2017.