Industry efforts help stem packaging use

The amount of packaging used per capita in the UK has remained almost frozen over the past decade thanks to efforts by manufacturers and retailers.

INCPEN, the Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment, said data released by the European Commission showed packing totals per capita in the UK were 176kg/ per person (PP) in 2007, compared to 175kg/pp in 1998.

It labelled the results as “impressive” saying they were proof that industry initiatives to cut back packaging had paid dividends. The UK’s performance compared favourably with the EU-15 as a whole, where average per capita packaging consumption had risen from 169kg/pp to 189kg/pp over the period.

Despite a three per cent increase in the UK population, the amount of packaging rose by just 4.9 per cent from 10.2m tonnes to 10.7m tonnes, according to INCPEN. And packaging quantities were stable, recycling rates doubled, and landfill greatly reduced.

The amount of packaging used in EU-15 as a whole increased by 17 per cent from 63m tonnes to 74m tonnes.

“These figures show clearly that the efforts of manufacturers and retailers to reduce packaging over the last decade have worked,” INCPEN Director, Jane Bickerstaffe said.

“They show that our packaging regulations have delivered an impressive recycling rate that is now above the average for the EU-15.”

INCPEN’s members include major players such as Cadbury, Amcor Flexibles, Britvic, Kellogg, Coca-Cola GB, Linpac and Rexam.

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