Press Centre

Asda joins campaing against 'pay as you throw' bin tax

ASDA today (Monday 19th May 2008) announced it was fighting Government proposals to introduce a ‘pay as you throw’ bin tax, calling instead for an end to the recycling postcode lottery.

Research conducted by the supermarket has revealed that millions of people find it difficult to recycle its packaging, even though 92% of it is made from recyclable materials.
The range of materials collected by local authorities varies considerably depending on your postcode “Your text to link here…((http://www.recyclenow.com/where_to_recycle/index.html))”:

If a nationwide bin tax was introduced, ASDA believes millions of people would lose out simply because of where they live.

Paul Kelly, corporate affairs director at ASDA said: "Our customers tell us that they are becoming increasingly frustrated by how difficult it is to recycle the packaging we give them. That’s why we’re calling for an end to the recycling postcode lottery.

“Despite nearly all of our packaging being recyclable, very few local authorities are able to collect it all, which means thousands of tonnes of packaging needlessly end up in landfill, when it could’ve easily been put to better use.”

ASDA argues that the EU’s Landfill Directive is flawed because it is based on the weight of rubbish sent to landfill. This means councils chase the heaviest materials, such as paper, card, and glass. Plastics, which are light but account for more than 55 per cent of total packaging waste, are often ignored and end up in landfill when they could have been recycled.

The research has also revealed remarkable differences in what local authorities collect from the doorstep, even within the same region of the country.

Paul Kelly added: "While there are some shining stars out there who collect everything from glass to Tetrapak, and paper to plastic bottles, hundreds of other local authorities only collect the bare minimum, making it harder for our customers to do the right thing.

“If you are unlucky enough to live somewhere where plastic or cardboard, or even glass bottles, are not collected by your council, your dustbin is going to be much fuller, much quicker – and weigh more too. That’s why we also strongly oppose the ‘pay as you throw’ bin tax.

“Until there is a consistent, nationwide approach to recycling, any form of bin tax would be unfair and unjust. Why should one ASDA customer be forced to pay more than another simply because their local authority doesn’t collect glass bottles, when down the road in a neighbouring town another local authority does. It simply doesn’t add up.”

ASDA’s report is based on research by the Government-funded Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), which promotes recycling. It surveyed all 397 councils in England and discovered wide variations in what each collected at kerbside.

It found that 85 per cent collect metal cans, 64 per cent glass, 63 per cent card, and 62 per cent plastic bottles. But only 30 per cent collect metal foil, 12 per cent rigid and flexible mixed plastics, eight per cent other types of plastic, and only five per cent Tetrapaks used for liquids like fruit juice.

Paul Kelly said: "While we understand the financial challenges many local authorities face, it is essential that the right infrastructure is put in place now, so councils can start collecting all of the materials that can easily be recycled, diverting them from landfill.

“That’s why we’re calling on central Government to harmonise all local authority collection schemes and provide the necessary investment needed to kick start this process.”

In the meantime ASDA said it will continue to chair the Cross Industry Packaging Waste Group to drive forward a strategy that makes it easier for its customers to recycle more of their waste regardless of where they live. The Group also aims to make it easier for retailers like ASDA to use materials that are more likely to be collected and recycled by local authorities.

Last year ASDA set itself an industry leading target to reduce packaging by 25% by the end of 2008, and ensure that as much of it as possible is recyclable and made from recycled content. It has also committed to send zero waste to landfill from any of its stores or depots by the end of 2010.

Posted in Press Centre on 19 May 2008