The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) said the cut in the amount of packaging was the result of the Courtauld Commitment – a voluntary agreement between WRAP, Defra, the Scottish and Welsh governments and the UK grocery sector.

More than 32 retailers and brands representing 92% of the UK grocery supermarkets signed up to the agreement to dramatically cut household packaging and food waste.

At a summit on Monday, WRAP revealed that signatories to the commitment had achieved the 2008 objective and were now on target to meet the 2010 targets.

Over the next two years, WRAP aims to sign up more grocery brands and manufacturers and demonstrate visible changes to consumers.

CEO Liz Goodwin said: “”WRAP is delighted that the grocery sector has responded positively to the challenge of tackling packaging and food waste.

“Their achievement in ending packaging growth is an impressive one, particularly against the backdrop of unexpectedly high grocery sales and population growth.

“WRAP, the retailers and brands are now looking at how to further reduce packaging and food waste in the future.

“The ideas we are discussing include reaching out to new areas of retail – which could potentially have a great impact on waste reduction.”

She also thanked consumers for pushing packaging waste into the limelight.

Responding to WRAP’s announcement, Melanie Leech, director general of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), said: “”It’s great news that the industry has met the Courtauld target to halt packaging growth.”

She added: “”We are delighted that two more of our member companies have decided to sign up to the Courtauld Commitment – Proctor and Gamble and Weetabix – and are encouraging others to do the same as part of our Environmental Ambition.

“Together with our member signatories, FDF looks forward to continuing to work with WRAP both to deliver the 2010 objective as well as on possible options for moving forward beyond this.”

Defra, the Scottish and Welsh governments and WRAP are also considering the potential for a separate voluntary agreement on packaging for products such as toys, electrical goods and furniture.

Kate Martin

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