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WAG launches food and packaging sector plan

The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) has launched a series of proposals aimed at reducing food and packaging waste, in its new sector plan consultation.

ItsDraft Food Manufacture, Service and Retail Sector Plan seeks to help those industries reduce both their food packaging and food waste, with proposed actions by WAG, arms length bodies and the industry across three areas – waste prevention and reuse, recycling  and treatment and disposal.

Such measures include:

  • The creation of “sustainable food business clusters” of interconnected food businesses and suppliers, which could offer communities alternatives to imported and overpackaged food.
  • Regional packaging hubs for the storage of food packaging
  • Allowing businesses to use household waste recycling centres
  • The encouragement of further awareness raising campaigns from retailers to increase post consumer waste recycling
  • Controlling use of energy from waste
  • Yearly waste reductions of between 1.2 and 1.4% (against 2007 baseline) for food manufacturing, wholesale and retail and service sector waste until 2050.

According to the consultation, small- and medium-sized enterprises “dominate” the wholesale, retail and service sectors in terms of waste arisings.

The document stated: “[SMEs] account for 59,230 tonnes or 87% of the total food waste produced by the wholesale and retail sector, and produce over 80% of their food waste in the mixed stream, of which less than 2% is recycled.”

“99% (54,050 tonnes) of the food waste generated by the service sector is produced by SMEs. Over two thirds (67%) of the waste arises in the mixed stream and of this only 3% is recycled.”

Speaking at the launch of the plan, Welsh environment minister Jane Davidson said: “Increasing landfill taxes mean that the financial consequences of producing too much waste will continue to grow. For companies of all sizes preventing waste and recycling everything they can, makes real business sense, which is why I am urging as many people as possible to help us shape waste policy in Wales by taking part in this consultation.”

The consultation closes on 22 June 2011.

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