Packaging in the Irish grocery sector could be reduced up to 40% by a concerted effort by suppliers and retailers, according to Seamus Scally, md of the Musgrave Group. With waste management costs in the sector at E12m a year, such a reduction would bring substantial savings, he said, both in the original packaging and in waste disposal. Scally was speaking at an environmental conference, Greening the Supply Chain, on what could be achieved through co-operation between wholesalers and retailers. Scally said much fresh produce is now transported in reusable plastic crates rather than cardboard and wrap. This practice, he said, could be extended to other groceries. The conference heard that the Musgrave Group recently signed an E18m contract with a waste management company to recycle 80% of the group's waste by 2005. This will cover waste generated at SuperValu and Centra stores, as well as distribution depots, offices and cash and carry premises. As a result of this integrated waste management plan, said to be the first of its kind in Ireland, the SuperValu and Centra chains, which together claim a 25% share of the Irish market, will cut their waste bills by 30%. {{NEWS }}