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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January 17th, 2014

Picking up the evidence: what’s the cost of litter?


by Chris Sherrington


Is all this concern about litter overblown? Does government really need to intervene to reduce levels of litter, or is it just a distraction from more urgent issues? What are the negative effects of litter and how significant are they; and given the range of apparently competing pressures, what is a policymaker to do?

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November 15th, 2013

Waste prevention: an article of faith?


by Chris Sherrington


A friend of mine was walking in the countryside with his children when they came across an interesting array of characters. Dotted around a hillside, facing out to sea, with their hands held chest high and palms facing out, they seemed to be conducting some sort of prayer ritual. When they’d finished, they were happy to chat about what they’d been doing.

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November 5th, 2013

Bonfire of the profanities


by Chris Sherrington


The whizz and pop of fireworks; sparklers; mulled wine; and of course gathering around the bonfire to keep warm: the annual celebrations on November 5th are a firm favourite in the Sherrington household. For my children it’s all great fun and for me, while I have reservations about what is being celebrated, Guy Fawkes Night evokes happy childhood memories of building and lighting bonfires with my grandfather. For those reasons, although I’m now aware of the damage unrestricted bonfires can do to our health, I wouldn’t want to deny my children the same enjoyment. Refusing them a bonfire on November 5th would be a crime equal to pretending the Tooth Fairy was bankrupt, or setting the dogs on the Easter Bunny. But I would like to see the time around November 5th, and other events of similar importance to communities across the UK, kept as an exception to a wider crackdown on polluting bonfires at other times of the year.

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September 24th, 2013

Clegg’s debagging


by Chris Sherrington


Nick Clegg’s recent announcement of a five pence charge for single use carrier bags in England from Autumn 2015 was definitely welcome, even if a cynic might describe it as jumping before being pushed. Until recently, England seemed to be dragging its feet compared with Wales, which introduced a charge in 2011, closely followed by Northern Ireland, and with Scotland planning to introduce a charge in 2014. The indications are that the charges have been extremely effective in reducing the use of plastic carrier bags, but I’m concerned that the scheme announced by Clegg is being set up to fail.

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July 19th, 2013

Crazy paving?

Seaside garden

by Chris Sherrington


It’s tidy and hard-wearing. You can park your car on it, getting it off the side of the road, and it doesn’t need watering or mowing. What’s not to like about block paving your front garden, if you’re lucky enough to have one?

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