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Time to act on excess packaging

December 29, 2012 12:01 AM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat deputy leader and MP for Orkney and Shetland, Alistair Carmichael, has called on supermarkets, retailers and the public to act more responsibly in their use of packaging over Christmas and New Year.

The UK Government's Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) estimates that the amount of wrapping paper estimated to be thrown away in the UK at Christmas could stretch around the equator nine times if each sheet was laid end to end.

Commenting, Alistair Carmichael MP said:

"At the end of Christmas Day we all end up with an abundance of packaging to throw away - whether it's from food, gifts or crackers, it all adds up. But how much of that packaging was really necessary in the first place?"

"Excess packaging imposes a triple cost on us as consumers - we pay for it at the checkout counter, we pay for it to be disposed of and we bear the environmental costs. Manufacturers have a legal responsibility to minimise their packaging and to ensure as much of it as possible can be recycled. The examples I have highlighted demonstrate that this is clearly not happening.

"Tackling excess packaging must also be a central objective for our governments.

"At Westminster Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson is leading the fight to change the law on packaging. But this doesn't mean that the Scottish Government can wash its hands of this issue.

"Ministers must work with product designers and manufacturers to encourage them to use sustainable designs and materials.

"The SNP Government should also develop improved packaging guidelines and should make it easier for consumers to complain if they feel the packaging of products is unnecessary."