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MRW - Materials Recycling World - EMAP Publishing Limited Company

Packaging Strategy receives mixed response

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Source: Materials Recycling Week

The announcement of the new Packaging Strategy has received a mixed response from key industry players.

The Waste & Resources Action Programme chief executive Liz Goodwin said: “Packaging waste is a major issue for shoppers, local authorities and retailers – and we need to join forces to tackle it. By working across the whole supply chain, we have greater opportunities to make a positive difference. We need to cut excess packaging while recognising that the right packaging can help products last longer and so reduce waste. This is crucial if we are to meet UK targets for keeping waste out of landfill. We have a real innovation here – so that, from design to disposal packaging is the very best it can be – for shoppers and the environment.”

Under the Government’s new Packaging Strategy, the whole chain from production to disposal of packaging will be tackled. For example, enforcement action will be made easier against manufacturers of excess and unnecessary packaging, and consumers will be encouraged to continue to report excessive packaging to Trading Standards.

The Industry Council for Packaging & the Environment director Jane Bickerstaffe told MRW: “We do welcome getting more recycling done, better eco-design, and expanding refillable and re-useable packaging, where that makes sense.

“The first Courtauld Commitment [voluntary packaging agreement between WRAP and retailers] was weight-based the next will be carbon-based. But it is not easy to use carbon-based measurements – it’s not a black and white issue - its grey. For instance, certain plastic polymers have lower carbon footprints than others. PVC and expanded polystyrene have low carbon footprints. Is the Waste & Resources Action Programme going to be proposing that we use those products?”

British Retail Consortium spokesman Richard Dodd said that the BRC welcome the Government’s measures on optimising packaging and increasing recycling rates. He said: “It doesn’t support or follow the local authority agenda that blames retailers for excessive packaging and we welcome that approach.”

The BRC states that local authorities should improve their kerbside collection of recyclable materials and build new recycling facilities capable of handling a wider variety of materials.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “Talk of enforcement action is a distraction. This report rightly recognises that the idea that retailers pointlessly swathe goods in unnecessary packaging is a myth. We agree completely that using the minimum packaging to protect and preserve products adequately is the right approach. Retailers have made great strides in reducing packaging and working towards sustainable packaging, using less material and more recycled content.”

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