Call for end to Christmas recycling lottery

Published on Tuesday, 20 December 2011 10:39
Posted by Scott Buckler

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Communities and Local Government have today called together retailers, manufacturers and local authorities to bring an end to excessive packaging and recycling confusion

Grocery packaging was cut by more than 220,000 tonnes last year, and packaging recycling is at an all-time high of 60 per cent, but more still needs to be done to cut out excessive packaging and to make all packaging more recyclable to stop it going to landfill.

With families likely to have more packaging than usual, councils could be dealing with around 1.7m tonnes of household waste over the festive period alone. So Ministers called together all those who make, sell and manage disposal of packaging to stamp this issue out for future years.

Environment and Recycling Minister Lord Taylor said:

"After the presents are unwrapped and the turkey is eaten, the last thing anyone feels like doing is talking about what can and can't be recycled, which can be different from town to town. We want to bring an end to this recycling lottery where people need to spend time and effort at Christmas trying to do the right thing.

"It's not good enough to keep making and selling packaging that's destined for landfill - it's bad for business, consumers and the environment."

Local Government Minister Grant Shapps said:

"Christmas should always be a time for sharing and celebrating but we must remember that every trussed up turkey, shrink-wrapped sprout and over-packaged pudding adds to the bin burden in the new year.

"Every council can do their bit to ensure residents know their local recycling scheme, but we also need to help households by being Scrooge like with the amount of packaging used. Taxpayers can prevent their public pounds going straight to landfill by insisting on less packaging and recycling whenever possible."

Smart packaging protects products from damage, and can cut down on food waste, but excessive packaging is still an issue along the supply chain before products get to retailers.

Excessive packaging has been cut through the Courtauld Commitment, but the industry still lacks enough recyclable alternative materials to protect some products, leaving more than three million tonnes of packaging going to landfill.

Packaging that is not recyclable or consistently recyclable across local authorities leaves householders and businesses confused over what they can and can't recycle, making it harder for householders and businesses to do the right thing and recycle more and can lead to recyclable material inadvertently going to landfill.

The summit brought together those who make, sell and manage the disposal of packaging to work together on solutions to develop more innovative ways of packaging the goods we use.

As outlined in the Waste Review, this will help set the country on the path to a zero-waste economy where valuable and costly packaging does not end up in landfill.

Ministers also discussed better joint working between the industry and local authorities, improving recycling-on-the-go and boost uptake of the Business Recycling Commitment.


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