August 26th, 2016

Myth takes: the great Pacific garbage patch

Plastic Bag Hooked

by Chris Sherrington and Simon Hann


People are increasingly aware of the growing problem of plastic in our oceans. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been told, “You know, there’s a great big island of plastic in the middle of the Pacific”. More often than not, they quickly follow up by mentioning that thankfully there’s a project under way to solve the problem by cleaning up the plastic. While it’s good that more people understand that marine plastics are a cause for concern, it’s unfortunate if the only two things they “know” about it are not entirely true.

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February 26th, 2016

Levelling a charge: small business and levies


by Chris Sherrington


One of the most remarkable features of the way in which the carrier bag charge was introduced in England was the Government’s insistence that small retailers be exempted. This was despite repeated requests from the Association of Convenience Stores, the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) and the British Retail Consortium that all retailers be included.

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February 5th, 2016

Return to vendor


by Chris Sherrington


Last autumn I spent a very enjoyable time with my family visiting the Black Forest. Ever the environmental consultant, there were two green features of the trip that stuck in my mind.

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January 29th, 2016

Advisory note: packaging industry opposition to producer responsibility


by Chris Sherrington


Earlier this week I skimmed through an old Guardian article about ‘corporate welfare’ – which reported analysis suggesting that taxpayers hand businesses £93bn a year (more than £3,500 per household) in the form of subsidies, direct grants and tax breaks. While I didn’t delve too deeply, the thrust of the argument put me in mind of another example of UK taxpayers shouldering a burden that should not be theirs – producer responsibility for packaging.

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December 11th, 2015

Neat Streets: making fun of anti-litter interventions?

Villiers Street

by Chris Sherrington


Over the past few months an organisation called Hubbub has been carrying out a series of ‘playful’ localised anti-litter interventions in London. Their project, called Neat Streets, was focused on Villiers Street in Westminster, one of the busiest in the capital in terms of footfall. Funding was provided by organisations including INCPEN (the Industry Council for research on Packaging and the Environment), the Packaging Federation, the Metal Packaging Association, the Packaging and Films Association, Lucozade Ribena Suntory and Coca Cola.

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July 22nd, 2015

Broken windows and litter: tidying up INCPEN’s arguments


by Chris Sherrington


The Industry Council on Packaging and the Environment (INCPEN) is putting a lot of effort into communicating the idea that a deposit refund system (DRS) on beverage containers would be ineffective in addressing litter. This line has formed a major part of INCPEN’s response to my recent article highlighting how they cherry-picked litter data for a press release, which has been widely discussed on Twitter. INCPEN’s argument, encapsulated in a tweet, is that:

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June 26th, 2015

Picking the right cherries: packaging waste and litter


by Chris Sherrington


Some time ago I came across an INCPEN press release entitled ‘Cherry-picking litter won’t work: It has to be all or nothing’. It reports findings of research conducted by Keep Scotland Beautiful and commissioned by INCPEN (The Industry Council for Research on Packaging and the Environment), whose members “include raw material suppliers, packaging manufacturers, and manufacturers and retailers of packaged products”.

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