Jo taking residents’ packaging complaints direct to Minister

Jo will shortly meet environment Minister Joan Ruddock as part of her campaign against excess packaging

A couple from Bearsden are urging Jo Swinson to take their concerns about wasteful packaging direct to the Government Minister responsible.

Mr and Mrs Paterson of Bute Crescent, Bearsden, met with Jo on Saturday (3rd May) to explain how frustrated they are at having to dispose of waste from over-packaged goods.

Jo is due to meet Environment Minister Joan Ruddock on 13th May to discuss the proposals in her Packaging (Reduction) Bill. These include better enforcement of packaging regulations and binding targets to reduce excessive packaging.

Commenting, Robert Paterson said:

“The amount of packaging that accompanies our weekly shop now is just a joke. Fruit and vegetables simply don’t need all that extra plastic and polystyrene. As a family we are trying to recycle as much as possible but it is hard to cut down our household rubbish when there is so much wasteful packaging coming in.

“I am pleased Jo Swinson is taking up this issue because something needs to be done. People are trying to be as green as possible, but in the meantime it just seems like companies can get away with putting as much packaging on products as they like.

“We have carried our shopping home in the same reusable carrier bags every week for five years. I would like to see tougher action to cut down the huge number of free carrier bags given away by supermarkets.”

Jo added:

“Like so many families, the Patersons are fed up with having to dispose of wasteful and excessive packaging material. Residents in Bearsden and Milngavie are trying hard to recycle more and send less to landfill, but this task could be made far easier if they had less packaging waste to deal with in the first place.

“I am due to meet with the Minister responsible for packaging shortly and I intend to put Mr and Mrs Paterson’s complaints directly to her. Taking serious steps to tackle excess packaging has not been a priority for Labour; in fact, domestic waste has risen by a fifth since 1997.

“My Bill to reduce packaging contains a set of straightforward proposals that would cut packaging and make life easier for families like the Patersons. I will be urging the Minister to follow the steps set out in the Bill.”

The Packaging (Reduction) Bill was presented to Parliament as a 10 Minute Rule Bill in October 2007.

The proposals in the Bill include:

o The establishment of a national body to promote and enforce packaging reduction;

o Consumers to be given powers to deposit packaging in supermarkets for recycling before leaving the store;

o Improvements to packaging regulations to assist the work of Trading Standards officers;

o Binding targets for packaging reduction in place of existing voluntary targets.

Full title of Jo Swinson MP’s Packaging (Reduction) Bill: That leave be given to bring in a Bill to establish a national body to promote and enforce packaging reduction; to make provision for the disposal of packaging by certain retailers; to establish binding targets for the reduction of packaging; and for connected purposes.

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