UK organic community waging war on excess packaging

Posted September 15, 2005, article reprinted with permission from The Soil Association, the UK's main charity promoting organic food and farming, is starting a year-long project to minimize packaging waste from organic products.

As national "organic week" gets underway on Saturday, the Soil Association has been provided with £186,000 in funding from the Waste and Resources Action Programme to improve the sector's waste credentials.

Sales of organic food have increased from just £1 million ten years ago to over £1 billion a year at present. It is illegal to sell any product as organic if it hasn't been certified by an organization such as the Soil Association, but to date the organization's organic standards have only recommended good practice in relation to packaging.

The new work will develop standards that require the environmental impact of all packaging to be considered in qualifying products for certification.


Francis Blake, the Soil Association's standards and technical director, said: "Packaging plays a vital role in marketing, and ensures products reach the consumer in optimum condition. But at the end of its useful life, packaging becomes waste and we need to reduce this to the minimum."

Mr Blake added that organic consumers feel strongly about the issue of packaging in terms of the environmental impact of their own buying activities. "We are delighted that this funding will allow us to at last look at packaging issues," he said.

Pilot projects on the reduction of packaging waste are being undertaken by Soil Association licensees Duchy Originals, Green & Black's and Sheepdove Organic Farm.

After a wide-ranging consultation process and final approval by the Soil Association's council, the new standards will be introduced alongside an accompanying guide.

This article reprinted with permission from is the UK's only independent dedicated website for businesses, local government and community groups involved in recycling and waste management.