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Single use camera manufacturers hit back

The Photo Imaging Council (PIC) has hit back at the proposal that single use cameras be subject to a product levy, as suggested in the recently published Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and Green Alliance report A Zero Waste UK.

While the report used single use cameras as an example of hard-to-recycle products that should be subject to a green product levy, the PIC has said the single use camera is actually a recycling success story.

It said that since the introduction of single use cameras in 1986 Kodak and Fujifilm UK in partnership with other PIC members had worked together to run an award-winning industry recycling scheme that has successfully kept single use cameras out of the UK and Irelands waste stream.

The PIC has therefore rejected the idea that single use cameras be used as an example of cheap, disposable and hard-to-recycle goods as stated in the report. PIC chairman Gerry Dingley said the cameras are designed to be easily recycled and are an example of good eco-design in a popular product.

Their films can be removed by photofinishers without destroying the camera body or components, and under the scheme empty cameras are sorted and returned to their respective manufacturers. The PIC said up to 90% of the camera components are recycled, with some components, such as lenses and flash units, directly reused in new single use cameras after quality testing. Plastic is remoulded for use in other products.

Kodak UK HSE Manager Dr Greg Batts said he was disappointed at the poor research behind the report.

A quick check of the internet sites of Kodak or Fuji would have been sufficient to realise that their research was flawed, he said.

He added that in 1999 Eastman Kodak was granted the World Environmental Centre Gold Medal and in 2001 Kodak won the Queens Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development, part of which was due to the success of the single use camera recycling scheme.


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