Excess packaging

We are calling on residents to say ‘no’ to excess packaging and help reduce the amount of packaging in household bins.

It’s estimated that over ten million tonnes of packaging waste is produced in the UK and used packaging accounts for around one-fifth of the weigh of a household dustbin.

By reducing the amount of packaging in the dustbin helps the local authority to achieve recycling targets and to reduce the amount of rubbish sent to landfill. 

Residents are urged to not only recycle their rubbish but also to reduce packaging waste and to get businesses to reduce packaging on their products.        

What can you do to cut down on packaging?

  • As a consumer you can make a real difference. Some examples are listed below:
  • Only buy what you need to avoid wastage
  • Use reusable bags instead of disposable plastic bags
  • Buy refills where they exist – many detergents & cleaning products offer refills
  • Buy fruit and vegetables loose, not pre-packaged
  • Drink tap water or filtered tap water rather than buying bottled mineral water
  • Ask for tap water instead of bottled mineral water when ordering in restaurants
  • Select goods with minimal packaging
  • Buy re-usable goods instead of single use items i.e. re-usable dish cloths, razors, dusters and nappies
  • Use the supermarket recycling banks to drop off your unwanted packaging
  • Buy recycled - buying products made from recycled materials helps to close the recycling loop

What can you do to get businesses to cut down on packaging on their goods?

  • Remove excess packaging and hand it back to the store
  • Complain to the store if the goods are over-packaged  

What the law says

The Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations introduced in 1998 require packaging volume and weight to be ‘limited to the minimum adequate amount to maintain the necessary level of safety, hygiene and acceptance for the packed product and for the consumer’.

Packaging should also be designed to permit its recovery by means of recycling, incineration for energy recovery, or composting / biodegradation, and to reduce the level of hazardous materials contained in it to a minimum.

The obligation to ensure that these regulations are complied with lies with the “responsible person”. This is usually the packer/filler of the product or the importer of the packed product

Trading Standards Officers have responsibility for enforcing these regulations.