Some of the country's biggest food retailers have joined forces with the Waste and Resources Action Programme to reduce the amount of food and packaging waste thrown away by the British public.
Asda, Boots, Budgens, the Co-operative Group, Londis, Iceland, Kwik Save, Marks & Spencer, Morrison's, Sainsbury's Somerfield, Tesco and Waitrose have pledged their commitment at executive level to support the programme.
This involves to design out packaging waste growth by 2008, to deliver absolute reductions in packaging waste by March 2010 and to identify ways to tackle the problem of food waste.
Elliot Morley said: "Our food and drink industry is a major employer and a major part of our economy. But it is also a major source of waste accounting for about 10% of all industrial and commercial waste, notably packaging.
"I am encouraged by the response of the major retailer who are taking up the challenge to shrink the amount of packaging and food waste produced by both the industry and by consumers."
Jennie Price said: "Reducing the amount of rubbish we throw away will make a big difference to the environment, and is something consumer really care about. I am very pleased that supermarkets are showing such strong leadership on this issue."
Each retailer will now be developing its own programme of work with WRAP, with some already involved in research or demonstration projects.
ASDA head of corporate social responsibility Ian Bowles said: "In the short-term, ASDA intends to look at new sealing technology which can help reduce packaging weight and food waste, and look at ways of introducing innovation into ready meal packaging.
"In the medium term, our aim is to integrate innovative packaging design into everything we do, thereby reducing resource use and waste."