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Asda calls for an end to packaging recycling postcode lottery

Asda has called for an end to the packaging recycling postcode lottery and a regional approach to developing collection facilities. Packaging buyer Shane Monkman, speaking exclusively to MRW, said that it is normally the luck of the draw whether customers get a local authority that collects mixed plastics or not. Our customers tell us they face a real recycling 'postcode lottery' out there with varyingcollection schemes that are not necessarily driven by sense, logic or environmentallyneed.Weight and financial value play a major part in collection strategies around the country, as does shape. Some local authorities collect by shape,some collect by material type. "As an example all soft drinks are made from PET, which also widely used in many other non-bottle packaging formats, such as PET trays and punnets.These non-bottle PET formats are completely recyclable but local authorities need to develop waste streams in order to recycle them and stopsticking them in the ground because they are the wrong shape. In short local authorities have to develop the waste stream for PETand other completely recyclable plastics in non-bottle applications. Therecognition and will is there howeveras always it seems to come down to resource. Localauthorities need thecentral guidance and resource from Government if we are to get after the materials we currently keep sticking in the ground." According to the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), mixed plastics are the most commonly encountered packaging materials in the UK. At least one million tonnes of household mixed plastics end up in landfill each year. Asda uses 190,000 tonnes of packaging material each year, almost 25% of which is for non-bottle plastics. However, only 8% of local authorities recycle mixed plastics. Asdas next challenge is to reduce the amount of packaging it uses by 25% by the end of 2008.

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