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New Packaging Waste Strategy Announced

Consumers will see a major overhaul of all packaging over the next decade, under plans announced by Environment Secretary Hilary Benn earlier this month.

The Government's new packaging strategy, Making the most of packaging, looks at the packaging of the future and what our shop shelves and kitchen cupboards should look like if we cut the amount of packaging produced, used and thrown away, and increase the amount recycled.

Government's Packaging strategyUnder the plans published 9th June, the whole chain from production to disposal of packaging will be tackled:

* 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 Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) will work with manufacturers and retailers to reduce packaging for everyday products in line with the best on the market

* The recyclability of packaging will be improved and clear guidance will be provided for manufacturers on designing it with recyclability in mind

* The use of refillable and reusable packaging could be expanded, so in the future customers could have the option of buying anything from laundry detergent to coffee by simply taking empty containers back to shops to be refilled

* The Government will work with local authorities and packaging producers to improve household recycling services, so that in future more types of packaging are collected for recycling

* Recycling rates for plastic, glass, and aluminium will be targeted for improvement. This will mean more 'recycling on the go' points introduced in public places for drinks cans, and more glass collected for recycling from pubs, clubs and restaurants

* Banning of some materials, such as aluminium and glass, from landfill altogether is also being considered.

Launching the new strategy at the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management Futuresource conference on 9th June, Mr Benn said:

"We need to rethink the way we deal with packaging, from production line to recycling bin. The plans we've announced today set out how we will achieve that - with the goal of making it as easy as possible for consumers to avoid needless packaging in the first place and to get rid of what they do receive in a way that doesn't just create more landfill. I also want consumers to play their part by reporting excess packaging wherever they see it - because we're all in this together. In a few years time I want people to be able to shop without having to worry about what they're going to do with the packaging when they get home, and where it will go after they've disposed of it."

Liz Goodwin, CEO of WRAP, 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 whilst 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 chance for real innovation here - so that, from design to disposal, packaging is the very best it can be - for shoppers and the environment."

Making the most of packaging covers all of the UK and is being published jointly by Defra, BERR, the Welsh Assembly Government, Northern Ireland Executive and the Scottish Government.

The devolved administrations have also announced how they will each take forward the strategy.

Making the most of packaging strategy report and executive summary can be downloaded from the E-Library Database by using the search word 'packaging' here

Source: NDS

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