Britain's packaging industry - which is frequently accused of being the cause of the landfill crisis - has received some welcome backing in political circles.

Labour backbencher Eric Illsley, chairman of the All-Party Packaging Manufacturing Industry Group, said during a House of Commons debate this week that much of the criticism levelled against packaging was unfair, and he feared the industry was suffering an increasingly bad press due to ignorance.

Packaging helped save an enormous amount of perishable food, he claimed.

"The environmental impact of avoidable food waste in household waste is at least eight times greater than the impact of total packaging waste going into landfill," he said.

Wrapping individual fruit and vegetables in cling film is among the practices attacked by critics. The MP said this helped to preserve the shelf-life of food dramatically.

Margaret Hodge, industry minister, also weighed in with her support for the £10bn-a-year packaging sector, assuring Parliament that packaging "can be green" and UK manufacturers were "sophisticated and highly competitive".

But Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson argued packaging was used to make products look bigger on shelves.