By Philip Hammond MP
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Tesco plans to recycle plastic packaging by 2020 Sainsbury’s has changed its packaging by using metal covers to keep food cold
Many leading supermarkets have increased the amount of recycling of their packaging, business secretary Philip Hammond has told MPs. Mr Hammond said Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons were “among the most visible and vocal campaigners” to turn their packaging into recycling products. He was speaking to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee on the issue of waste. ‘Good progress’ Mr Hammond said Tesco was expected to have significantly reduced the amount of plastic packaging it used by 2020, while he expected Morrisons and Sainsbury’s to have cut the packaging they use by half that year. He said there was “good progress” in increasing recycling of packaging and said a new government strategy for circular economy would be published in the coming months. At present, although recycling rates for general consumer packaging are relatively high, recycling rates for packaging that it comes in contact with are very low, as plastic packets need to be broken down and cleaned so packaging materials become more valuable and recyclable. ‘Pioneering’ Mr Hammond said that the challenge for the packaging sector was to try to get recycling rates for the most hazardous products, such as plastic food and drinks pouches, in line with those for general packaging. For these “plastic junk food pouches”, he said, efforts were being made by the packaging sector to create packaging that would “show how we can achieve much better outcomes” for the environment, for industry and for customers. A new packaging recycling standard has been developed and launched by the packaging industry to encourage increased recycling of PET plastic and other packaging. Writing in the Whitehall publication Government Technology last year, Mr Hammond described the move as a “bold attempt to reinvigorate recycling and reduce diversion into landfill”.
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