Should Supermarkets Pay Recycling Costs For Products Sold?

by | Feb 19, 2009

groceriesThe Local Government Association (LGA) in Britain, a cross-party organization representing councils in England, is arguing that supermarkets should pay for the recycling costs of packaging from products they sell, reports the BBC. While chains have reduced the amount of packaging used overall, the amount that needs recycling has remained the same.

The LGA estimates that over 60% of the packaging from top supermarket chains could be recycled. Charging them to recycle would be an incentive to use less packaging in the first place, the organization argues.

“If retailers create unnecessary rubbish, they should help taxpayers by paying for it to be recycled,” says Councilor Margaret Eaton, chairman of the LGA.

In its third survey of the food packaging found in a typical basket of shopping, the LGA found that almost 40 percent of supermarket food packaging cannot be easily recycled. Excessive and unnecessary packaging contributes to the estimated £1.8bn councils will spend on landfill tax between 2008 and 2011.

The British Market Research Bureau was commissioned by the LGA to look at eight supermarkets and the weight of food packaging they use in a typical shopping basket. The survey found that:

– Waitrose had the heaviest packaging (802.5 grams)
– Lidl had the lowest level of packaging that could be easily recycled (58 per cent)
– Tesco had the lightest (645.5 grams)
– Sainsbury’s had the highest level of packaging that could be easily recycled (67 per cent).

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