lundi 16 février 2009

Supermarkets Blamed For Bulky Food Packaging

Supermarkets are undermining shoppers' efforts to recycle by using excessive food packaging, according to a new report.

The latest annual study by the Local Government Association (LGA) calls on supermarkets to contribute towards the cost of dealing with excess packaging.

The LGA's report looked at the weight of food packaging in a typical basket of groceries from eight supermarkets.

It found that although the weight of food packaging has improved since last year, almost 40% still could not be easily recycled.

Cllr Margaret Eaton, Chairman of the Local Government Association, says Britain is now "the dustbin of Europe" and has called for both lighter and more recyclable packaging.

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

"If we had less unnecessary packaging it would cut costs and lead to lower prices at the tills.

"If retailers create unnecessary rubbish, they should help taxpayers by paying for it to be recycled."

The two worst offenders were Waitrose, which had the heaviest packaging at 802.5g, and Lidl, where 42% of packaging was difficult to recycle.

Tesco's packaging was the lightest, at 645.5g, and the Sainsbury's shop produced the lowest level of packaging difficult to recycle, at a third.

Last year, Marks and Spencer had the smallest proportion of recyclable waste, but the latest report reveals they now have the most items wrapped in recyclable packaging.

Each year, the UK generates around 25m tonnes of waste from households.

A large proportion ends up in landfill, where degrading waste gives off harmful greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

Landfill tax currently costs councils £32 for every tonne of rubbish they throw away – but that will rise to £48 a ton by 2010.

By 2011, it is estimated councils will face a landfill tax bill of roughly £1.8bn, with homeowners being forced to pay for it.

While packaging experts argue the plastic is there to prevent food from decaying, when it comes to the environment, the message from the LGA is that less is more.

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