BRC says sector is already committed to waste reduction
The Environment Agency (EA) has called for food and drink retailers and manufacturers to do more to cut waste.

In its annual Spotlight report on the performance of businesses in England and Wales, the EA said the packaging and waste associated with the food and drink industry was key to how much rubbish is generated every day.

The report acknowledged that some big household names were making moves in the right direction, but said the amount of waste being produced was rising overall.

EA acting chief executive Paul Leinster said: 'If you opened up an ordinary household bin bag, you would find that most of its contents would include packaging and products from some of the biggest names in the world of food and drink.'

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said that the EA was 'preaching to the converted', with many major retailers already committed to reducing packaging and waste as part of the Food Industry Sustainability Strategy (FISS).

BRC environment director Nigel Smith said: 'Shop goods account for less than 1 per cent of all UK waste. Perhaps the EA would be better served pursuing other sectors that are not taking this issue as seriously as retailers.'

According to the BRC, two-thirds of the waste in the UK is created by the mining and construction industries and only 1 per cent comes from products sold in shops.

Yesterday, supermarket giant Asda announced it would stop sending its waste to landfills by 2010. The grocer also said it was carrying out a complete review of its own-label packaging. It plans to reduce the weight and volume of packaging by 10 per cent over the next 18 months.