UK: LGA report criticises supermarkets over packaging
A report from the Local Government Association (LGA) has said the UK's major supermarket chains are still using too much packaging, and that some 40% of packaging currently being used is not recyclable.
The study warned that the UK could miss its recycling targets if the leading grocery retailers do not reduce packaging.
The report looked at 29 standard grocery products. It found that discount chain Lidl used the most packaging, while Marks and Spencer (M&S) used the most non-recyclable material. The study also looked at packaging practices at Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Tesco, a local retailer and a market.
Interestingly, it was the local market and the local retailer that had the most packaging which could be recycled, at 79% versus 60% at M&S.
The LGA research found that packaging made up an average of 5% of the total weight of the grocery products examined.
Councillor Paul Bettison, chairman of the LGA's environment board, said that the public were making strides to increase the amount of rubbish that was recycled but that retailers were not always making this easy. "Their efforts are being hamstrung by needlessly over-packaged products on sale in supermarkets," he said.
Mike Barry, head of corporate social responsibility at M&S, acknowledged that the retailer had more work to do in this area. "While we've made good progress over the last 12 months, we know there's still much more yet to do in both areas," he said.
The LGA report follows the publication last week of a report by the National Consumer Council (NCC) which said that while UK supermarkets had improved their green credentials, they still needed to do more to reduce their environmental impact, for example by further cutting plastic bag use, reducing food miles and recycling more packaging.
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