Food and Drink Industry Lobbied Against Tougher Waste Policy

Connector Fall 2017

Trade bodies representing brands such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Coca-Cola have lobbied the Government to oppose deposit return schemes and new EU proposals designed to boost recycling.

A new Greenpeace investigation has revealed that packaging, supermarket and food and drink trade associations urged Defra Minister Therese Coffey to oppose new “polluter pays” proposals, which would pass more of the costs of managing packaging waste onto companies that produce the goods.

Letters released under Freedom of Information (FOI), dated from September 2016 and February 2017, highlight trade bodies on behalf of brands such as McDonald’s and Starbucks arguing that more rigid extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes would increase their costs with “no net environmental benefit”.

As things stand, British firms pay a fraction of the costs of their French or German counterparts to dispose of the packaging they put on the market. It is the UK taxpayer that ends up footing most of the bill, insists Greenpeace.

Greenpeace UK oceans campaigner Tisha Brown said: “The packaging industry will come up with endless excuses for why any policy which involves them taking more responsibility for the problems their products cause won’t work, but their letters to Defra show their real reasoning quite clearly. They’re getting away with passing their costs onto the taxpayer, and they don’t want that to change.”