The UK government today (9 June) unveiled a “major overhaul of all packaging” in a bid to encourage food manufacturers and retailers to reappraise how the food they make and sell is packaged.

The strategy, dubbed ‘Making the most of packaging’, aims to study how packaging is used throughout the supply chain.

The Government’s plans include an ambition to make packaging easier to recycle, to expand the use of refillable packaging and to improve household recycling services.

Plans to also ban materials including aluminium and glass from landfill are also being considered.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said the strategy would aim at making it easier for consumers to “ avoid needless packaging” and to reduce the need for more landfill. 

“In a few years time I want people to be able to shop without having to worry about what they’re going to do with the packaging when they get home, and where it will go after they’ve disposed of it,” Benn said.

The Government-backed Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) will continue to work with UK food retailers and manufacturers to reduce packaging.

Liz Goodwin, the programme’s CEO, said: “We need to cut excess packaging whilst recognising that the right packaging can help products last longer and so reduce waste. This is crucial if we are to meet UK targets for keeping waste out of landfill.”

The UK’s Food and Drink Federation (FDF) said it was “important” for the Government to focus on waste prevention.

“That’s why members of the Food and Drink Federation have a bold ambition to send zero food and packaging waste from factories to landfill by 2015 and are working closely with WRAP and others to reduce the amount of packaging reaching households,” FDF director of communications Julian Hunt said.