The government's long-awaited review of waste policy will fall well short of industry expectations and deliver little in the way of direction over recycling, sources have told The Grocer.

Suppliers and retailers claim they are massively frustrated at the lack of firm proposals in Defra's Waste Review plan set to be unveiled on Tuesday.

Insiders predicted there would be no concrete measures to tackle inconsistencies in collections by local authorities, which leave mountains of waste unrecycled, despite retailers and suppliers having made strides to make more products recyclable and using the BRC recycling label to inform consumers. There is expected to be a continued emphasis on telling retailers to reduce their use of plastic bags, ­despite plastic bags accounting for less than one hundredth of the UK's waste output.

A raft of leading retailers and suppliers have made voluntary pledges to slash waste, including reducing the carbon impact of grocery packaging by 10%, slashing UK household food and drink waste by 4% and product and packaging waste in the grocery supply chain by 5%, by 2012.

But despite being headlined as a move to a "zero-waste economy", critics say Defra's review contains ­little to help. One source close to negotiations said: "After more than year in the making, this review is set to underdeliver. There is far too much emphasis on broad strategy."

"We need businesses to be incentivised to take progressive action," added Bob Gordon, head of environment at the BRC, who said there was "a lot of scepticism" about the review.

The government is also unlikely to win support from environmental groups. "It looks like the ­review is going to be very vague a great shame considering we've had to wait for this for a year," said Friends of the Earth water campaigner Julian Kirby. "We're working with the likes of Unilever and Sainsbury's and they are making great efforts, which is why it is so frustrating."

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Editor's Comment: Oh dear, Defra is still obsessed with plastic bags (11 June 2011)