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Most waste to landfill ‘cannot be justified’ according to Lord Taylor.


In a recent article published by Business Green, the Environment Minister promises renewed ambition from Defra on everything from plastic bags to air pollution.

Over the past couple of months Defra has been busy with a series of announcements that could have major implications for green businesses and sustainability executives.

Whilst discussing the department’s recent announcements, with Environment minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach, the plans for next year were also discussed, these included; imminent developments in the fields of waste management, sustainability reporting and air pollution.

During a meeting with Business Green, Lord Taylor said; that they are working with the clothing industry and that is another area of a similar nature we are looking to see how we can help the industry organise itself to improve performance.

According to the minister, that is what lies at the bottom of these voluntary agreements.

Lord Taylor said:

“They really started off with the Cortauld Agreement and I think the big advantage is that to have success you need to have buy-in, and the only way to get buy-in is to get all sides of a supply chain to think in terms of what they can do to get the value out of the waste they are generating and reduce the waste they are generating.”

He went onto say:

“Beyond clothing there is nothing immediately that we’re looking at, though one of the areas where we are having a renewed focus is stopping timber and wood going into landfill. But I suspect that will not be a voluntary agreement-type deal, it’s more likely to be investigating ways we can ultimately get wood out of our landfill. We will consult on those plans. We are required to consult and it makes sense to consult.”

Further questions were asked by Business Green, they can be viewed here.

Courtauld Agreement – Courtauld Commitment 1

The Cortauld Commitment is a responsibility deal aimed at improving resource efficiency and reducing the carbon and wider environmental impact of the grocery retail sector.

Over the past 5 year 1.2 million tonnes of food and packaging waste has been prevented through the success of Phase 1 of this commitment, the results were published in September 2010, showing that 670,000 tonnes of food waste and 520,000 tonnes of packaging were avoided across the UK between 2005 and 2009.

Two out of the three original targets were met over this time scale, these were:

  • to design out packaging waste growth (zero growth achieved in 2008); and
  • to reduce food waste by 155,000 tonnes (exceeded with 270,000 tonnes less food waste arising in 2009/10 than in 2007/08).

The target to reduce the amount of packaging waste over the same period – has not been achieved.  Total packaging has consistently remained at approximately 2.9 million tonnes between 2006 and 2009.

Courtauld Commitment 2

The second phase follows on from the original Courtauld Commitment (Phase 1), however, it moves away from weight-based targets and aims to achieve more sustainable use of resources over the entire lifecycle of products, throughout the whole supply chain.

When Phase 2 was launched on the 4th of March 2010, 29 main retailers and brand owners had already pledged their commitment to this voluntary agreement. Today there are over 50 signatories.

Phase 2 targets include:

Packaging – to reduce the weight, increase recycling rates and increase the recycled content of all grocery packaging, as appropriate.  Through these measures the aim is to reduce the carbon impact of this grocery packaging by 10%.

Household food and drink waste – to reduce UK household food and drink waste by 4%.

Supply chain product and packaging waste – to reduce traditional grocery product and packaging waste in the grocery supply chain by 5% – including both solid and liquid wastes.

To read about the Retail sector voluntary agreements, click here.



WRAP Courtauld Commitment

Business Green


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