from David Workman, director general, British Glass

Sir; I read your report 'Pouch switch mooted' with interest (The Grocer, April 8, p66).

With soaring oil prices, the answer for retailers is not to switch to plastic pouches as claimed by George Slack of National Flexible, but to go back to glass. While plastic packaging formats have become very popular, it should be remembered that they do have a number of disadvantages, both in terms of their impact on the environment and on consumers.

Currently low recycling rates for plastic mean the vast majority of plastic containers go to landfill. I am not aware of any recycling facilities for plastic pouches anywhere in the country. So the adoption of pouches would increase plastic packaging waste. At a time when most of the major retailers have signed to the Courtauld Commitment, a joint agreement with the government and the Waste & Resources Action Programme to reduce the growth in packaging waste, this would be a retrograde step.

Unlike plastic, glass is inert and leaves food and drink fresh and untainted. Research undertaken by Taylor Nelson Sofres shows a clear consumer preference for glass. Some 71% prefer to see glass bottles on the table rather than plastic, while 64% said that food and drink tastes better out of glass.

Retailers wanting to improve their environmental performance and please customers should switch to glass.