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News - 14 June 2011

BRC calls for more action on waste

The Government’s Waste Review, published on 14th June, is disappointing says the British Retail Consortium (BRC). It is lacking a clear programme of delivery.

There is an over-emphasis on carrying out future consultations and reviews and “sharing best-practice” but little in terms of concrete action or leadership.

The BRC says the review is right to focus on waste prevention and aim for a zero waste economy. It takes a sensible position on issues including carrier bags and bottle deposits, but it doesn’t go far enough to address bigger waste issues. More specific actions are needed to radically reduce food waste going to landfill, and a joined-up approach is needed to improve the availability and consistency of recycling services for householders and businesses alike, including on-the-go recycling.  

Retailers who have signed up to the BRC climate change initiative - A Better Retailing Climate - have halved the amount of waste their own businesses send to landfill over the past five years and set themselves a target to send less than 15% to landfill by 2013. Retailers have also helped families cut the amount of waste they produce at home, collectively helping to prevent 1.2 million tonnes of food and packaging waste over the past five years.   British Retail Consortium Head of Environment, Bob Gordon, said, “After a long wait, this Waste Review is a disappointment. Specific commitments are missing and pledges which are made, such as on working with industry to reduce packaging, have been under way for months now.  

“It’s great the Government has realised that retailers are leading by example but it’s disappointing that it’s not matched these efforts with any meaningful commitments of its own. What a shame in particular that effective actions to address the issue of food waste are missing.  

“The review promised to look at what policies are needed to reduce the amount of waste generated and to maximise reuse and recycling. Where are those policies?”

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Gordon, Bob

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