UK packaging companies and retailers should be forced to contribute towards the £100m annual cost of disposing of excess packing, the Local Government Association (LGA) has said.
The LGA launched its attack as it declared local councils are paying an estimated £100m to dispose of surplus packaging. The body said making packing producers and retailers meet more of this bill would give them an incentive to cut back. The move would also help reduce retail food prices, it claimed.
The UK Government’s packaging strategy unveiled yesterday did not go far enough in holding packing producers and retailers responsible for tackling the problem of packaging, said an LGA statement.
Tougher recycling targets should be imposed on producers and retailers should commit to using more recycled packing materials, as well as improving labelling on which packaging can be recycled, it added.
The LGA said that if retailers used more recycled packaging it would boost the market for councils to sell material collected from residents and bring in extra income to keep council tax down. At present, councils pay a landfill tax of ₤40 per ton.
Cllr Paul Bettison, Chairman of the Local Government Association Environment Board, said: “At a time when we’re in recession and shoppers are feeling the pinch, we have to move on from a world that tolerates costly shrink wrap on tins of baked beans. Families are fed up with having to carry so much packaging home from the shops.
“Much of this packaging exists purely so that retailers can put their logos everywhere but it is shoppers who pay the price at the till and when they throw it away.
”If retailers and manufacturers start paying the true price for their unnecessary packaging, they’ll have a real incentive to get rid of it altogether. Boosting the market for recycled materials will mean councils can investment more on improving recycling and offering more consistent services so that people can recycle more of their rubbish.”