Retailers launch bid to reduce packaging, food waste

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Packaging waste, European union

The UK's food processors will come under greater pressure to ship
their products in environmentally-friendly materials after retail
outlets announced today the formation of an alliance to reduce
packaging and food waste at landfills.

The new programme, made up of the leading UK retailers, is being launched under the Waste & Resources Action Programme (Wrap). Theorganisation is a government-backed non-profit association with the overall aim to meet the EU's requirements on food and packaging waste. Early this month Defra, the UK's agency responsible for the environment, consulted with industry on the implementation next year of an EU directive banning manufacturers and retailers fromdisposing food of animal origin in the country's landfills. The EU-wide animal by-products directive went into force for all other EU members at the start of this year, but the UK received aconcession allowing its industry to continue the practice until 1 January 2006. The UK plans on asking the European Commission for a further extension to the concession for another year in a bid to give businesses more time to comply. Due to its older manufacturing history theUK has had difficulties reducing the amount of food waste going into landfills and in meeting packaging recycling targets. The new programme sets as a target the goals of ending by 2008 the growth trend in the amount of packaging waste retailers produce, deliver absolute reductions in packaging waste by March 2010 andidentify ways to tackle the problem of food waste. Those involved in the scheme include Asda, Boots, Budgens, the Co-operative Group, Londis, Iceland, Kwik Save, Marks & Spencer, Morrison's, Sainsbury's, Somerfield, Tesco and Waitrose. Defra's recovery and recycling figures for the fourth quarter of 2004 show that the UK failed to meet intermediate recycling targets in aluminium, steel, plastic, and the overall general recyclingtarget. The European Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, which was revised in 2004, sets new, even more challenging and differentiating, recycling targets for all packaging materials. In this newlegal frame, members have to achieve a 50 per cent recycling rate in metals by 2008. Wrap was established in 2001 in response to the UK government's policy to tackle the growing amount of waste produced in the country.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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