Retailers to focus on waste prevention and reuse above recycling

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A report from the British Retail Consortium has suggested that retailers are now looking further up the waste hierarchy on waste prevention and reuse.

It’s A Better Retailing Climate Progress Report said that “retailers are continuing to move away from sending waste to landfill and over the period 2020, this focus will move up the waste hierarchy to waste prevention and reuse.”

The report, which was signed by retailers including Argos, Asda, Boots, John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, also noted that retailers are exploring how to move away from a linear economy towards a circular economy.

However, the report also noted that with oil prices continuing to fall, it had become harder to find markets for recycled plastics and that two of the UK’s largest plastics recycling businesses had closed in 2015.

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The report also warned that the European Commission’s circular economy package was “very waste heavy” and that some of the “new targets may be pushing recycling to a point where environmental and economic benefits are no longer achieved”.

On food waste, the retailers said that they are continuing to focus on all stages if a product’s life in order to reduce waste levels.