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UK Organic Community Waging Campaign Against Excess Packaging


Organic products sector in waste minimisation crusade

The Soil Association, the UK's main charity promoting organic food and farming, is starting a year-long project to minimise packaging waste from organic products.

At the end of its useful life, packaging becomes waste and we need to reduce this to the minimum.
- Francis Blake, Soil Association

As national "organic week" gets underway on Saturday, the Soil Association has been provided with £186,000 in funding from the Waste and Resources Action Programme to improve the sector's waste credentials.

Sales of organic food have increased from just £1 million ten years ago to over £1 billion a year at present. It is illegal to sell any product as organic if it hasn't been checked by an organisation such as the Soil Association, but to date the organisation's organic standards have only recommended good practice in relation to packaging.

The new work will develop standards that require the environmental impact of all packaging to be considered in qualifying products for certification. Reduce Francis Blake, the Soil Association's standards and technical director, said: "Packaging plays a vital role in marketing, and ensures products reach the consumer in optimum condition. But at the end of its useful life, packaging becomes waste and we need to reduce this to the minimum."

Mr Blake added that organic consumers feel strongly about the issue of packaging in terms of the environmental impact of their own buying activities. "We are delighted that this funding will allow us to at last look at packaging issues," he said.

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Soil Association

Pilot projects on the reduction of packaging waste are being undertaken by Soil Association licensees Duchy Originals, Green & Black's and Sheepdove Organic Farm.

After a wide-ranging consultation process and final approval by the Soil Association's council, the new standards will be introduced alongside an accompanying guide.