40% of supermarket packaging not recyclable

Despite green pledges, 40% of supermarket packaging not recyclable

UP TO 40% OF supermarket packaging cannot be recycled and has to go to Earth-damaging landfill sites, a new study has found.

The Local Government Association, which commissioned the survey, accused the big stores of failing to live up to green promises by shrink-wrapping products and leaving consumers and local councils to deal with the waste.

And, it says, Marks and Spencer is the worst offender.

The British Market Research Bureau bought 29 common items from Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Marks and Spencer and Lidl.

It found that 40% of Marks and Spencer’s packaging could not be recycled, while Asda was the ‘greenest’ with 30% unable to be recycled. In comparison, independent shops and markets were far greener – by using paper bag packaging, just 21% could not be recycled.

Paul Bettison, chairman of the LGA’s Environment Board, told the Daily Mail: ‘People are working hard to increase their recycling, but their efforts are being hamstrung by needlessly overpackaged products.’

A spokesman for the British Retail Consortium said stores recognise there is scope to reduce packaging, but that local councils should carry much of the waste blame because they fail to operate a consistent policy on what they will recycle.

Mike Barry, corporate responsibility chief at M&S, said the company is reducing packaging and switching to materials that can be easily recycled. He insisted: ‘Almost 70% of our packaging is recyclable across the majority of local authorities. A further 20% could also be recycled if there was a more consistent approach across the UK.’

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