Home improvement sector gets tough on packaging and landfill

The UK's DIY retail sector has made significant progress towards meeting targets to reduce packaging and the amount of waste sent to landfill, according to WRAP.

Signatories to the Home Improvement Sector Commitment – a UK-wide voluntary agreement between DIY retailers, manufacturers and WRAP – had reduced packaging by 12% (14,000 tonnes) and waste sent to landfill by 64% (61,000 tonnes) between 2007 and 2010.

The targets, which are based on a 2007 baseline and have a 2012 deadline, are to reduce packaging by 15% and landfill waste by 50%. Progress to date has been measured on a like-for-like basis to take account of the recession and a reduction in sales volume in the sector since the 2007 baseline.

A third objective, to help consumers recycle more, is also being tackled by signatory companies by improving design of products and packaging, guidance to suppliers, guidance to consumers and initiatives to make recycling easier.

Speaking about the results of WRAP’s interim report, chief executive, Liz Goodwin, said: “These interim results are really encouraging, especially when you consider that these supply chains extend around the globe and the long lead times for changes to products to be felt in the UK.

“There is still well over a year to go, with the results to 2010 indicating that we should be looking at some very positive financial and environmental savings by the time the agreement finishes at the end of 2012.

Goodwin added that WRAP is now working with signatories on waste minimisation. Companies signed up to the deal include B&Q, Crown Paints, Focus DIY, Homebase, ICI Paints and Wickes. Together, the signatories represent almost half of the total UK home improvement retail sales.

Further details on what individual signatories are doing with regards to waste management and packaging can be found here

Maxine Perella

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