Pay packaging recycling costs, stores told

A A A

A report which says supermarkets are using excessive food packaging and should contribute towards the cost of dealing with it was branded "nonsense" and "naive" by the industry today.

The study by the Local Government Association (LGA) said people's efforts to recycle rubbish were being undermined by the stores they shopped in.

It showed that although the weight of supermarket food packaging had gone down over the past two years, almost 40 per cent of it still could not be easily recycled.

But the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said the survey failed to acknowledge the key role packaging played in preserving food and thereby reducing waste.

Its head of environment, Bob Gordon, said: "It's a nonsense to suggest that retailers swathe their goods in masses of unnecessary packaging. This would simply be a pointless cost. Packaging reduces waste by protecting and preserving products."

Jane Bickerstaffe, director of the Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment, added: "The report is naive and shows a singular lack of knowledge of the modern supply chain and what it takes to feed a nation of 60 million.

"Products have different supply chains and different amounts of transport packaging. Some products have a short shelf life, others are made to last longer. The amount of packaging has to reflect this."

The LGA report argues that supermarkets should contribute towards the cost of recycling and waste disposal services so they are encouraged to produce less packaging in general.

As well as making recycling easier and more affordable this would also ease the burden of landfill tax on local government, it says.

Landfill tax costs councils £32 for every tonne of rubbish they throw away - a figure that will rise to £48 a tonne by 2010 - meaning that by 2011 an estimated £1.8 billion will have been spent on it since 2008.

LGA chairman Cllr Margaret Eaton said: "Britain is the dustbin of Europe with more rubbish being thrown into landfill than almost any other country in Europe.

"Taxpayers don't want to see their money going towards paying landfill taxes and EU fines when council tax could be reduced instead.

"At a time when we're in recession and shoppers are feeling the pinch, we have to move on from a world that tolerates cling filmed coconuts and shrink wrapped tins of baked beans. Families are fed up with having to carry so much packaging home from the supermarket."

She added: "If we had less unnecessary packaging it would cut costs and lead to lower prices at the tills. When packaging is sent to landfill, it's expensive for taxpayers and damaging for the environment.

"Supermarkets need to up their game so it's easier for people to do their bit to help the environment. If retailers create unnecessary rubbish, they should help taxpayers by paying for it to be recycled."

The British Market Research Bureau (BMRB) was commissioned by the LGA to look at eight supermarkets and the type and weight of food packaging they used in a typical shopping basket.

The survey found Sainsbury's had the highest level of packaging that could be easily recycled (67 per cent) while Lidl had the lowest (58 per cent).

Waitrose had the heaviest packaging and Tesco had the lightest. The LGA said since its first survey in October 2007 the weight of food packaging had been reduced overall but the proportion that could be recycled had changed little.

The British Retail Consortium's Mr Gordon said: "Retailers pay over £5 billion a year in business rates towards local authority funding. The biggest barrier to recycling is local authorities' failure to agree on which materials they're prepared to recycle."

A Waitrose spokeswoman added: "Waitrose has cut product packaging weight by over a third since 2001.

"We were disappointed the LGA did not allow us to see a copy of the Report or provide us with a right to reply to the claims before it was issued.

"We are currently going through the report and believe it to be misleading. It fails to use accurate comparisons - a 500g tomato punnet at Waitrose is compared to a 250g punnet at most other stores. An accurate way to assess packaging would be by comparing per 100g of a product."

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Wonnacott dancing the pasadoble
TVStrictly Come Dancing The Result
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Sol Campbell near his home in Chelsea
voices
News
<p>Jonathan Ross</p>
<p>Jonathan Ross (or Wossy, as he’s affectionately known) has been on television and radio for an extraordinarily long time, working on a seat in the pantheon of British presenters. Hosting Friday Night with Jonathan Ross for nine years, Ross has been in everything from the video game Fable to Phineas and Ferb. So it’s probably not so surprising that Ross studied at Southampton College of Art (since rebranded Southampton Solent), a university known nowadays for its media production courses.</p>
<p>However, after leaving Solent, Ross studied History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, now part of the UCL, a move that was somewhat out of keeping with the rest of his career. Ross was made a fellow of the school in 2006 in recognition of his services to broadcasting.</p>
TV

Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new

News
Kimi the fox cub
newsBurberry under fire from animal rights group - and their star, Kimi
Arts and Entertainment
filmsIt's nearly a wrap on Star Wars: Episode 7, producer reveals
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Brand labelled 'left-wing commie scum' by Fox News
TV
News
Paul Nuttall, left, is seen as one of Ukip's key weapons in selling the party to the North of England
i100
Arts and Entertainment
BBC's Antiques Roadshow uncovers a TIE fighter pilot helmet from the 1977 Star Wars film, valuing it at £50,000
TV

TV presenter Fiona Bruce seemed a bit startled by the find during the filming of Antiques Roadshow

News
people

Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'

News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

1st Line Technical Support Engineer

£22000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Thame i...

Graduate Project Manager

£25000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...

Drama Teacher

£110 - £135 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are seeking a Drama tea...

Science teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are seeking a languages...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past