Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune has called for immediate action to reduce packaging on the products we are buying every day. Speaking as the European Parliament voted on a Directive on packaging and packaging waste today in Strasbourg, MEP Clune said we need more action on excessive and wasteful packaging,
"We seem to be going backwards when it comes to packaging on certain products. One has to wonder whether we really need 2, 3 and sometimes 4 layers of packaging before we get to the product. Many of our fresh meats and sliced hams now come in plastic shrink-wrap, placed inside a plastic tray, with a plastic lid and finished with a cardboard sleeve. These are removed by the consumer at home and instantly thrown in the bin. This is costing the householder money in waste charges; it is wasting energy and not helping the environment.
"We need immediate action to end this hugely wasteful packaging on a pan European basis. Manufacturers, supermarkets and organisations like Repak need to play a role in tackling excessive waste. Public sector recycling and waste management facilities and ultimately consumers and taxpayers are picking up the costs of manufacturers excessive packaging and it has to stop.
"There are certain circumstances where packaging is needed, as may be the case with certain fresh foods, but most of the excess packaging appears to be marketing material.
"Six months after opening, Germany’s first zero-waste grocery store, Original Unverpackt is proving that shoppers are ready for a logo-free, packaging-free shopping experience. Shoppers are encouraged to bring their own bags and containers with them to OU but a range of re-usable jars and containers are also available for purchase onsite. Whilst this is an extreme example, I feel it is indicative of the willingness of EU consumers to reduce packaging, help the environment and ultimately pay less for goods that have cost less to package.
"I have submitted a Parliamentary Question to the Commission today to highlight my concerns in the area and to call for immediate EU wide action.