Reduce excess packaging to bring cuts in household waste

The UK produces 4.6 million tonnes of packaging waste per year

The Government can do more to cut levels of household waste by requiring companies to reduce quantities of packaging and promoting environmentally friendly packaging materials, according to Jo Swinson MP.

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Ms Swinson praised the National Federation of Women’s Institutes on their National Day of Action Against Packaging, and asked Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Ben Bradshaw:

“It is right to highlight the fact that we must get rid of excess packaging on food products and use recyclable or compostable materials where packaging is required. What actions are the Government taking to require food producers and retailers to minimise packaging?”

Mr Bradshaw responded by pointing to statutory targets set by the Government to reduce and recycle certain levels of packaging by 2008.

Commenting further, Jo said:

“In the UK we produce enough waste to fill the Albert Hall once every hour. Many of the products we purchase are accompanied by excessive quantities of packaging – unjustifiable given the damage that landfill and incineration cause to the environment.

“Families in East Dunbartonshire who are making efforts to drive down household waste are finding themselves hindered by supermarkets’ and producers’ insistence on wrapping their products in needless amounts of packaging.

“As well as individuals playing their part, Government must also do more. In addition to the Minister setting targets to reduce packaging levels, he must look at how to bring about much more widespread use of compostable, biodegradable packaging.

“The WI’s action day is a great example of positive consumer action to try and alter the thinking of both Government and Industry on this issue.”

The National Federation of Women’s Institutes held their Packaging Day of Action on 20th June. WI members around the country visited supermarkets to return their excess packaging and ask for improved policies on packaging and food waste.

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