The Local Government Association (LGA) is looking at expanding cross-industry voluntary agreements to promote further packaging waste reduction and save money.
The Courtauld Commitment, a WRAP-led voluntary agreement, was launched in 2005 to reduce food and packaging waste and has been signed by 92% of grocery supermarkets.
A meeting of the LGA’s Environment and Housing Board on 13 November looked at plans to push the reach of the Courtauld Commitment beyond the grocery sector.
The LGA will hold a summit of non-grocery packaging producers and retailers, such as shipping and DIY companies, in early 2014.
Despite acknowledging the positive results of the Commitment, now in its third phase, the LGA pointed out that only 50% of packaging handled by councils is covered by the agreement and as much as 2 million tonnes of packaging waste have not been subject to “meaningful” reduction activities.
It also noted that so far packaging reduction activities have been focused on the supply chain delivering savings for retailers, but not necessarily for local authorities.
The LGA will research how a larger voluntary agreement could reduce the amount of packaging ending up in the local authorities’ waste stream.
A series of proposals will be put forward by spring 2014 to influence Government and opposition parties ahead of the 2015 elections, it said.
The councils’ association also intends to propose changes to the Packaging Recovery Notes (PRN) system in response to a Government consultation on the matter that it expects Defra to launch early next year.
The proposals include measures to increase transparency on how PRN money is used, to allow councils to access those resources and to introduce the possibility of offsetting recycled materials content of packaging for producers.