The Foodservice Packaging Association welcomes the launch of the Government’s Litter Strategy for England. Dealing with litter has been lacking in Government leadership for far too long and we hope this will help to turn a corner by bringing all stakeholders together including the public to reduce it.

Packaging does not litter itself and the strategy leads on the development of an anti-littering campaign. The Government seeks funding from business but this should be implemented without attributing any blame to business. Bearing in mind that by 2020 councils will retain business rates revenue, there will be many retailers who feel the recent increase in business rates should be used towards the litter innovation fund.

A number of items including foodservice packaging are singled out to be particularly problematical but all littered items are problematical and actions should focus on all litter and not just selected items. We wish to change public behaviour with regard to all littered items, be it packaging or an apple core.

We will encourage businesses to support anti-litter campaigns and agree communicating to school students is key to bringing about a societal change.

We welcome a review into increasing fixed penalty notice fines and believe with regard to rubbish thrown from vehicles, the fining of the registered keeper of the car rather than trying to identify who threw the litter will make a difference. There is still some apprehension regarding fines particularly from District Councils and we hope the Government will provide guidance so that councils of all sizes are encouraged to enforce the laws without fear that enforcement will leave them out of pocket.

In proposing a voluntary code of on-pack litter messaging (subject to space and material) the FPA wishes to ensure this is not just seen as a code for foodservice packaging but for all items that are littered including tobacco, newspapers and ATM receipts. We actively encourage messaging at point of purchase and applaud those in the industry that organise litter pickups which also include their competitors’ items.

The Strategy includes the formation of a task force to review the evidence for voluntary and economic incentives of which DRS is one. We strongly urge Defra to ensure the composition of the task force fairly represents business particularly the major retailers and coffee shops. We believe a Deposit Return System will be expensive and will do little to change the behaviour of those who litter in line with the recent survey conducted by the Association of Convenience stores.

All in all, the Litter Strategy is welcomed.  Government leadership will help focus attention and resource and will be a catalyst for action.

To view the Litter Strategy, click here – Litter Strategy for England 2017.