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M&S fares badly in recycling packaging survey

Up to 40% of Marks & Spencers (M&S) packaging cannot be recycled and has to go to landfill sites, a new survey has found. The research published by the Local Government Association (LGA) highlighted how local retailers and market traders produced less packaging and that more of it could be recycled, with major supermarkets lagging behind. M&S fared particularly badly as it had one of the heaviest packaging (782g) only slightly less than Lidls 799.5g. Asda was the best performing supermarket, with packaging weighing 714g, of which 70% was recyclable. The LGA, which speaks for local councils, is urging supermarkets to take urgent action to reduce excessive packaging in order for Britain to meet its recycling targets. It is also asking them to stop wrapping up fruit and vegetables unnecessarily. LGA Environment Board chairman Paul Bettison said: People are working hard to increase their recycling rates, but their efforts are being hamstrung by needlessly over-packaged products on sale in supermarkets. We all have a responsibility to reduce the amount of waste being thrown into landfill, which is damaging the environment. Councils and council tax payers are facing fines of up to £3 billion if we do not dramatically reduce the amount of waste thrown into landfill. For the survey the British Market Research Bureau bought 29 common items from six stores: Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys, Morrisons, M&S and Lidl. A spokesman from the British Retail Consortium disputes the findings: The 29 items will not be exactly comparable in all of these stores. Food stores differ in the ranges that they sell. In the case of M&S, it tends to sell more pre-prepared products with more packaging to cater for its customers, as a matter of convenience. Figures are not a reflection of the relative performance of the different retailers but a reflection of what different retailers sell. M&S corporate responsibility chief Mike Barry said: Almost 70% of our packaging is recyclable across the majority of local authorities. A further 20% could also be recycled if there was a more consistent approach across the UK.

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