Recycling call on excessive Christmas packaging

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Our Christmas presents and dinners come with too much unnecessary packaging, the Government says.

Families are likely to throw more away over the festive period, and many are confused about what can and cannot be recycled.

To tackle the problem the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) are calling for retailers, manufacturers and local authorities to bring an end to excessive packaging.

They said although grocery packaging was cut by more than 220,000 tonnes last year, and recycling that kind of waste is at an all-time high of 60 per cent, more still needs to be done to reduce it and make sure what does get thrown away does not go to landfill.

Defra and DCLG said that during the festive period alone councils could be dealing with around 1.7m tonnes of household waste.

Recycling Minister Lord Taylor said: “After the presents are unwrapped and the turkey is eaten, the last thing anyone feels like doing is talking about what can and can’t be recycled, which can be different from town to town.

“We want to bring an end to this recycling lottery where people need to spend time and effort at Christmas trying to do the right thing. It’s not good enough to keep making and selling packaging that’s destined for landfill – it’s bad for business, consumers and the environment.”

Local Government Minister Grant Shapps said: “Christmas should always be a time for sharing and celebrating but we must remember that every trussed up turkey, shrink-wrapped sprout and over-packaged pudding adds to the bin burden in the new year.

“Every council can do their bit to ensure residents know their local recycling scheme, but we also need to help households by being Scrooge like with the amount of packaging used.

“Taxpayers can prevent their public pounds going straight to landfill by insisting on less packaging and recycling whenever possible.”

Sarah Cordey, from the British Retail Consortium, said: “Retailers have made magnificent progress reducing packaging and are already well on their way to meeting the latest set of Government targets.

“The key to making recycling easier for households is to have local councils operating consistent policies across the country instead of the postcode lottery which currently exists.

“More kerbside collection of recycling and food waste would do a lot to reduce the amount that ends up in landfill.”