One of the UKs biggest supermarkets has criticised Government proposals for pay-as-you-throw schemes and criticised local authorities for not offering recycling facilities for plastics.
Asda said that the pay-as-you-throw schemes would be unfair because many of its customers see a huge variation in the recycling facilities available to them depending upon where they live.
Packaging buyer Shane Monkman said: Local authorities are targeted by tonnes diversion from landfill so naturally must go after collecting the heavy items of packaging such as glass, steel and paper or card. Plastics are a victim of their own success in being inherently light weight so not attractive to local authorities looking to divert tonnes from landfill. However, more than 50% by volume of packaging is light weight plastic which really frustrates our customers.
With looming pay-as-you-throw or bin tax then how can it be fair to fine households for not recycling packaging with such a lottery of facilities? Thats why Asda is completely in opposition to any such initiatives. The Government maintains that they will only roll out these taxes to areas that are performing well with high recycling participation. Why? Surely these taxes have been designed to incentivise recycling participation in low performing areas. However, those are the lottery local authorities where customers dont have access to decent recycling facilities.
In response, Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee chair Lee Marshall said: It is unfortunate that Asda has put out a misguided and misleading statement. The whole point of a pay-as-you-throw scheme is that it is meant to act as an incentive not a bin tax.
Local authorities are dealing with the problems that retailers create in the first place and trying to provide solutions to the problem. They have a producer responsibility to tackle packaging waste and should be talking to local authorities and not at them.
Local authorities started recycling at different times and have evolved differently. In the next five years I am sure all local authorities we be offering a similar service from kerbside collections and collecting different materials.
Marshall added that local authorities faced a packaging lottery and that retailers do not make it clear on their packaging to consumers which plastics can be recycled and which cannot. Its a shame comments have come out now when we are working hard to take things forward sensibly.
Asda do not understand how local authority systems work and it is better to engage with us than talk at us.
Previous story, Asda calls for an end to packaging recycling postcode lottery, (20/11/07)