Packaging reduction marred by lack of transparency

Jo has called for tougher government action to tackle excess packaging

Jo Swinson has criticised a lack of transparency in a key Government target on excess packaging reduction, early results of which were announced today.

Under the first stage of the Courtauld Commitment on packaging reduction, producers representing 90% of the UK grocery sector agreed to design out packaging waste growth by 2008.

Commenting on the first stage results announced today, Jo said:

“Today’s announcement indicates that packaging in the grocery sector has now reached a plateau, though not an actual reduction as yet.

“Announcing a single target across the grocery sector as a whole, rather than showing what individual producers have achieved, is unhelpful in terms of transparency. Consumers should be allowed to know which companies are taking a lead and which are lagging behind. Those who are dragging their heels on packaging reduction are effectively riding the coat tails of those who are setting the pace.

“Many of the companies that signed up to the Courtauld Commitment also set their own targets on packaging reduction, some of which are due to be completed this year. Cutting excess packaging must be an ongoing process, not a one-off effort, so I am disappointed not to hear more today about what DEFRA is doing to broker further reduction targets with producers.”

The Courtauld Commitment is a voluntary agreement between WRAP and major UK grocery organisations that supports less packaging and food waste ending up in household bins. The agreement asks for signatories to support WRAP in the achievements of its objectives:

• To design out packaging waste growth by 2008.

• To deliver absolute reductions in packaging waste by 2010.

• To identify ways to tackle the problem of food waste.

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