Food production, storage and distribution have an unavoidable impact on the environment. FWD members seek to minimise this through initiatives that increase the efficiency of the supply chain, from the producer to the consumer.
Initiatives include: route optimisation technology; driver training; low carbon fuels; back hauling and recycling of waste and packaging; reducing packaging; recycling used cooking oil and reducing waste to landfill.
FWD is working closely with Government on its 25 year environment plan and other environmental policy proposals including those around using the tax system to tackle the use of single use plastics and other ways to tackle plastic waste.
Pressure had been growing for the Government to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme, which is intended to cut plastic, glass and metal drinks container waste by incentivizing consumers who return their drinks containers with a small cash sum.
In March the Government announced a consultation into a Deposit Return Scheme to combat plastic pollution. The scheme will apply in England to all single-use drinks containers – this will include those that are plastic, glass or metal – and therefore goes further than expected. The consultation will explore how such a scheme would work, alongside other measures to increase recycling rates. FWD will be responding on behalf of members.
The Environmental Audit Committee published the Government’s response to its report, “Plastic Bottles: Turning Back the Plastic Tide”. The EAC recommended that the Government introduces legislation to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme. In its response to the report, the Government said its Voluntary and Economic Incentives Working Group is currently working through the responses from the call to evidence on DRS and will be delivering a response later this year.
In his evidence to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, Defra Secretary Michael Gove announced that an Environment Bill would be included in the 2019 Queen’s Speech and that a deposit return scheme would require legislation that could be included within the Bill. Mr Gove said that a consultation on deposit return schemes would start after the ongoing Treasury consultation on the taxation of single-use plastics closes.
The Government has announced it will not be introducing a “latte levy” of 25p on takeaway cups. In response to the Environmental Audit report on coffee cup waste, the Government suggested that coffee shops should offer discounts for customers with reusable cups, instead of a levy on disposable cups. The Committee’s key recommendation was the introduction of a 25p levy on the use of disposable coffee cups, to reduce their use and help to fund recycling measures.
The Government has announced it will consult on banning the sale of plastic straws, drink stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton budgets. Subject to the consultation, the Government may ban the sale of these items in England under plans to meet their 25 Year Environment Plan ambition to eliminate avoidable plastic waste.
A number of supermarkets and food companies including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Aldi and Coca-Cola have signed up to a new voluntary pledge which aims to transform packaging and reduce avoidable plastic waste. The new voluntary pact has an aspiration that by 2025 all plastic packaging can be reused, recycled or composted. The Scottish and Welsh Governments and Defra have also pledged their support. The 42 signatories are responsible for more than 80% of plastic packaging on products sold through UK supermarkets.