Packaging and the environment

  • There were 684 million cubic metres of remaining capacity at permitted landfill sites in England and Wales at the end of 2007. This provides approximately only seven years of landfill life for non-hazardous wastes at 2007 rates of disposal.
  • The percentage of waste recycled or composted has increased, and accounted for 37 per cent of household waste in 2008-9.
  • Dr Richard Swannell, Director of Retail and Organics at WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) said: "The composting industry has experienced phenomenal growth and this will continue as food waste collections take off". Around 600,000 tonnes of extra composting production capacity is expected to become available in the next five years.
  • Local council's are mandating the use of biodegradable, compostable and recyclable catering items at outdoor events.
  • Companies use life cycle analysis to help them measure sustainability. This is a comprehensive approach but it can be costly in both resources and time and there are not always commonly agreed measurement approaches.
  • Under the governments Waste Strategy, statutory targets for recycling and composting are set for local authorities in England for waste to be recycled or composted. These targets are set to rise proposing to increase those statutory targets to 40% by 2010, 45% by 2015 and 50% by 2020. Under the EU Landfill Directive, the UK also has to meet targets for the reduction of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill.
  • Bio Packaging is the fastest growing sector in the packaging industry, growth rates of 30% + pa are anticipated. The "gold standard" is compostable as opposed to recyclable which has mainly been done.
  • Why do we need to reduce biodegradable municipal waste in landfill? Landfill is a major source of methane - a powerful greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. Methane is produced when biodegradable materials such as paper, food wastes and green wastes, decompose in the absence of oxygen. For this reason the Government and our partners in Europe agreed the EU Landfill Directive which sets ambitious targets for the reduction of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill. Many local authorities collect food waste from households and local businesses, which is then sent for composting . Local authorities and their private and community sector partners will need to do more of this and increase composting capacity. For ease of processing the use of biodegradable disposables would increase as these can be mixed with food waste for composting.
  • Oil prices are set to hit an all time high of $150 a barrel by October 2011. The price of polypropylene, a versatile plastics polymer, is soaring. It increased by 22% in January alone—and has risen by 133% over the past two years. Conventional plastic products will be priced out of the market on price and sustainability grounds.
Reduce Waste
Oil Pollution
Recycle Plant Fibres