Skip to main content

With ee General Election approaching fast, political parties have been releasing their manifestos, and two of the main candidates have highlighted their own packaging concerns.

British flags

The Conservative party’s manifesto has called for better packaging solutions and more recycling. The manifesto has pledged for ‘comprehensive rubbish collection and recycling’, to ‘do more to reduce litter’ including ‘supporting better packaging’ and ‘taking new powers to force councils to remove roadside litter’. However, the document does give detail on how the Conservative government would approach these issues, such as recycling and packaging design options.

The manifesto reads: “We will do more to reduce litter, including by supporting comprehensive rubbish collection and recycling, supporting better packaging, taking new powers to force councils to remove roadside litter and prosecuting offenders.”

However, the Liberal Democrats have pledged to impose a 5p charge on disposable coffee cups. Their plan will form part of a ‘Zero Waste Act’, which will incorporate a 70% recycling target. The money which would be raised from the 5p charge would go to charities, which is similar to the plastic bag charge.

Martin Kersh, the executive director of the Foodservice Packaging Association, has heavily criticised the Liberal Democrats plans and said that it was hard to understand why coffee cups were considered the next step in tackling climate change when coffee cups only account for 0.1% of total waste. He said:

“Surely policies should be based on well-founded research rather than as a knee-jerk response to media? We assume the Lib Dems believe a 5p cup charge will lead to an increase in reusable containers and it would be good to see the Lib Dems’ evidence for this. We question whether the majority of consumers are willing to carry a reusable cup in their bag and whether they are likely to want to put a used cup back in it. It is agreed that a bag for life if only used a few times is an environmental waste. A reusable cup only used a few times is likely to be an even bigger environmental waste.

“The most likely effect of the 5p charge will be to punish consumers, with the poorer consumer punished disproportionately more; not exactly in keeping with Lib Dem policy. We have offered to consult the Liberal Democrats on this issue, and this offer still stands. If they were to meet with us again, they would learn about a great range of industry initiatives already working hard to find solutions to this issue.”

He then added: “It’s all very well imposing a legally mandatory recycling target so long as the party will also address the need for greater investment in the UK’s recycling infrastructure, an issue we highlighted with the Lib Dems when we met with them a year ago. If legally binding, will Local Authorities be fined for missing targets? Is it fair to punish Local Authorities for deficiencies in waste and recycling infrastructures?”

With this being said, what will this hold for the shrink wrap industry? The polyolefin shrink film we supply here at Kempner is far more environmentally-friendly than the other packaging solutions available on the market. This is because even though it is a very thin material, it is just as strong, if not stronger, than paper or card, meaning less material is needed to achieve the same results.

With the general election being held next week, we will just have to see who comes out triumphant and see what the future really does hold for the packaging industry.