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More biodegradable packaging introduced

September 21, 2006 at 4:28 am

Sainsbury’s is the latest firm to offer biodegradable packaging to its customers: 500 of its products will now be available in compostable packaging. Around 50 per cent of household waste is from purchases made at convenience stores and supermarkets, and 25 per cent of all rubbish put out by households is retail packaging – it’s time for
companies to follow Sainsbury’s lead and take action.

Sainsbury’s announcement follows the move to go greener by other retail companies – this month Ikea announced it would be offering biodegradable shopping bags, and Tesco has just introduced a reward system for re-using carrier bags. Tesco customers are able to collect extra clubcard points by bringing old bags back into the store.

Sainsbury’s is unusual in its decision however; and environmental activist organisation Friends of the Earth are calling for other firms to follow suit with the introduction of biodegradable product packaging. But it must be noted that Sainsbury’s may look deceivingly green– these are just 500 product lines out of the 40 000 sold in shops.

Friends of the Earth are calling for further government action on biodegradable packaging. A spokesperson said: “The Government must ensure that the goods that companies produce are either re-usable, recyclable or compostable. But instead the Government is intent on building more unnecessary, unpopular and polluting incinerators that rely on burning non-recyclable waste.”
But Defra, the Government Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture says: “We are currently trying to assess the most environmentally-sound approach to addressing the problem of plastic bag usage. A number of options have been considered, including the possibility of a tax on plastic bags and the potential of biodegradable bags. However for the time being Defra is focusing on encouraging the reuse and recycling of plastic bags as the most viable means of tackling the issue.”

Sainsbury’s decision to produce biodegradable packaging is a step in the right direction, but more companies will need to copy their initiative – and on a bigger scale – for it to have any real impact for the environment.

What do you think? Would you choose to buy a product if its packaging was biodegradable?

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4 responses to “More biodegradable packaging introduced”

  1. Steve Freeman says:

    It’s because trays are made from so many different ploymers. Bottles are usually PET or HDPE (and fairly easy to sort), while trays can be almost any polymer (often unmarked) and often contaminated with food.
    Hope that helps.

  2. Dawn Eaves says:

    Is there anywhere to recycle old crockery ie cups, saucers or pots and pans?

  3. Hannah Shanks says:

    The best thing to do with old crockery and pots and pans is donate it to your local charity shop as unfortunately these types of materials can not be dumped in recycle banks.

  4. Henry Adedayo says:

    We are seeking information regarding biodegradable packaging and how we can get involved. We have access to the raw materials (Tapioca Starch) in commercial quantities…

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