Drinks sales hamper retailers waste reduction efforts - WRAP

Drinks sales hamper retailers' waste reduction efforts - WRAP

A consumer shift to drinking wine and beer at home has been blamed for UK retailers missing their waste reduction targets, according to an official report.

Supermarkets have failed to cut packaging waste due to rising demand for alcoholic drinks at their stores, the Government-sponsored Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) warned this week.

Total packaging waste in the UK grocery sector remained at 2.9m tonnes per year between 2006 and 2009, despite an agreement between supermarkets and WRAP to reduce waste levels. The news is a blow to UK Government efforts to cut packaging waste in the grocery channel.

WRAP blamed the failure on a 6% rise in grocery sales volumes over the three-year period, led by expansion in the off-trade drinks category. Beer, wine and cider represent a third of all grocery packaging by weight in the UK.

WRAP's comments will put more pressure on retailers and producers to reduce the weight of bottles and cut excess packaging on their drinks. 

However, two of WRAP's three targets on grocery waste were exceeded - to "design out" packaging waste growth, and reduce food waste by 155,000 tonnes per year. "We're especially pleased with the food waste reduction which is way beyond target," said Liz Goodwin, CEO of WRAP.