Keith Barnes Packaging consultant and director of IoP: the Packaging Society
Sir; I was pleased to read that Asda has abandoned its excess packaging initiative ('Asda waste push binned', The Grocer, 19 May, p6). This was an area that was followed in Germany a few years ago with disastrous results. Tonnes of packaging was returned to stores, the stores could not cope and had to hire warehouses to store the packaging in. As a result, much of the packaging became infested with rats, etc. Asda has said it will instead be launching a website through which consumers can make their complaints. This is a good initiative but what is actually needed is a central site for customers to complain to. We did have this with the Packaging Council but it was abandoned 10 years ago. Surely this should be brought back in the current climate. Separately, Asda has also said it will not introduce compostable and degradable packaging. I commend Asda for this because too many retailers are doing this. We are not yet there with this type of packaging and many customers do not understand or know what to do with the packaging. Home compost heaps will not be able to cope with this packaging so it will need to be sent to commercial compost heaps provided by many local councils.