Letter: The problem of Europe's overflowing dustbin

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The Independent Online
Sir: In an otherwise commendable leading article ('Even unto the yoghurt pot', 16 July), there seems to us to be one sin of omission and, perhaps, another of commission.

You omit to mention that while it is right that the packaging industry should help conserve resources and minimise waste, packaging comprises only 28 per cent of the household-waste stream which, itself, is only 4 per cent of the total waste produced in Britain every year. We do not shirk our obligations, but we think it misleading to suggest that the draft EC packaging regulations will do more than scratch the surface of a very real problem.

You also say, of the separation of domestic waste by householders, 'It may not be much fun, but as an alternative to . . . incineration . . . it makes sense.' We would simply point out that this is not so if waste is burnt in order to produce electricity.

The development of a first-class waste-to-energy industry is a vital but largely missing component in a balanced waste-management strategy for the UK. In Denmark, for instance, 70 to 80 per cent of household waste is turned into electricity; we have a lot to learn.

Yours faithfully,

KEITH PATERSON

Chairman

Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (UK)

London, WC1

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