Thursday, July 10, 2008

NEWS/GO3 - Green goods to come to the front of Britain's shelves

From DEFRA, E& OE: Green goods to come to the front of Britain's shelves

Publishing progress reports on Sustainable Products and Materials and
the Waste Strategy, Climate Change Minister Ms Joan Ruddock has said that the
Government and industry
were working together to green the whole life cycle of products and
services - from the raw materials right through to their use and

"We know people are concerned about their effect on the environment,
but they don't get to see the full picture of what goes into
producing the goods they buy - and they don't see what happens after
they've thrown them away.

"It needs to be easier for people to buy products that will save them
money and reduce their impact on the environment - and that's exactly
what we're doing. There are real savings to be made - through this
action to green the products and materials we use, UK households
could save £5 billion a year on their bills.

"Many businesses are already taking positive steps to reduce the
environmental impact of their products, and are seeing the real
benefits this can have, both for them and their customers. But as
fuel prices rise, commodities become scarcer, and families are
feeling the pinch, it becomes ever more important for businesses to
use resources more efficiently throughout the supply chain, those
that don't will miss out on potential savings, as well as big
opportunities for growth."

The Sustainable Products and Materials report details, for the first
time, the action already underway on making products and materials
more sustainable throughout their production, use and disposal,
across a wide range of products groups including food, electrical
appliances and clothing.

Significant achievements to date include:

* The piloting of Product Roadmaps, which aim to improve the
environmental performance of ten priority products across their life

* Progress towards saving enough energy to power 1.5 million homes by
improving the efficiency of some of the biggest energy using products
- set top boxes, external power supply units (such as for laptops,
mobile phones, and printers), fridges, washing machines, and

* An initiative with retailers to take inefficient light bulbs off
the shelves by 2011;

* Half of all milk packaging to be made from recycled materials by

* Government is setting an example for business through our "Buy
Sustainable - Quick Wins workstream." This tightens minimum standards
for public sector procurement. For example most paper used in
Government offices must have 100% recycled content and, where
non-recycled content is allowed, any virgin fibre used must be
sourced from a sustainably managed forest;

* Developing the PAS2050, a recognised standard which enables
businesses to measure CO2 emissions across the life-cycle of

* Leading in Europe to bring the energy used by all standby devices
sold in the EU down to 1 watt - and to halve that again in four years
after that standard is adopted.

The report also sets out a vision for future work on making products
more sustainable, and encourages further debate and discussion on how
this can be achieved.

* UK households could save £5 billion per year from cost-effective
energy efficiency improvements to products.

* Savings from not wasting so much food could be around £420 for the
average UK household. And for households with children it's even more
- £610 a year.

* Confident that with today's technology for metering, tariffs
and water efficiency, per capita consumption of water can be reduced
through cost effective measures, to an average of 130 litres per
person per day by 2030. Hope that developments in new technology
and future innovation will improve the cost-effectiveness of these
measures over time and this can drive consumption down further to an
average of 120 litres per person per day by 2030.

* Energy saving light bulbs can reduce lighting costs by up to £100
over the lifetime of the bulb.

* Initiatives such as moves by major retailers to reduce
environmental impacts demonstrate that resource efficiency is
beginning to be seen as a business opportunity.

The Government is also publishing the "Policy Analysis and
Projections 2008" report which sets out our vision and trajectories
for improvement of efficiency of a range of energy-using products
including light bulbs, refrigerators, boilers and consumer
electronics till 2020 as well as the evidence underpinning our
assessment and challenges to industry for the scale of those

A summary of progress made since the publication in May 2007 of the
Waste Strategy is also published today.

It shows good progress in the main indicators, covering waste growth,
recycling and diversion from landfill:

* There is a fall in the amount of household waste produced per
person which is not re-used, recycled, or composted;

* Household recycling rates have continued to increase. Early
indications are that the national average has risen in the first part
of 2007/08 to 33%;

* The amount of commercial and industrial waste being sent to
landfill has continued to fall;

* More energy is being recovered from waste; and

* Less biodegradable waste is being sent to landfill.

Further work is needed to identify whether an increase in reports of
fly tipping incidents represents an increase in fly tipping activity,
or whether it reflects continued improvement in the levels of
information local authorities provide to the Fly Capture national
database. The forecast for 2007/08 anticipates a decrease in fly
tipping levels.

1. The Sustainable Products and Materials progress report is
available here

2. The Waste Strategy progress report is available here

3. Ten product roadmaps to demonstrate the
sustainable products approach are being piloted - milk, fish, clothing, passenger
cars, TVs, domestic lighting, electric motors, window systems, WCs,
plasterboard. Further information on each is available here

4. You can read more about Market Transformation Programme "Policy
Analysis and Projections" here

* By 2020 half of all milk packaging will be made from recycled

*The dairy industry are undertaking
the following measures to achieve them:

* To send zero ex-factory waste to landfill.

* All tertiary packaging is to be re-usable or recyclable

Story telling

Good news to be had here: Wrappers' delight

However, I am not so sure this is the best description of a publicly-funded quango: (Wrap), a private company that helps individuals, businesses and local authorities to reduce waste and recycle more.

And, while true, whether this description of how our money gets spent tells the whole story: 'Lots of major brand owners are becoming converts to this,' Skelton says. He cites Heinz, which has created new lightweight can lids'

Of course, there are limits. Starting just before what I need to do.

The art of embarrassment

As with all notions that seem initially attractive when applied to others: 'careful what you wish for'.

Seriously funny

Only I don't know which is which.

Can bovine burp research slow global warming?

QUOTE OF THE DAY - Stats the way, uh-huh

Indy letters - Kudos for publishing

You say (Opinion, 7 July), "Even in wealthy Britain, where food makes up a paltry 9 per cent of average budgets, families are feeling the squeeze from rising food prices".

This sentence is itself an oxymoron but becomes doubly paradoxical in the light of your lead story (same day), in which you say, "The [Cabinet Office] report says UK households could save an average of £420 per year by not throwing away 4.1 million tonnes of food that could have been eaten".

There is either gloss on the statistics, or the British are uniquely stupid; possibly both?

CATEGORY - Education



Indy - The green league table: How environmentally friendly is your university?