New clause 30 - Zero waste strategy

Part of Waste and Emissions Trading Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 10th April 2003.

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Photo of Michael Meacher Michael Meacher Minister (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Environment) 3:15 pm, 10th April 2003

Well, I am very glad to say that I am proposing to do that. However, if the hon. Member for Leominster is going to press me, I also tell him that there are problems and that things are not as simple as they look. One problem is that, precisely in order to reduce packaging waste, manufacturers have reduced the thickness of bottles or containers, whether made of glass, cardboard or other packaging material. If the glass is going to be reused by being refilled, it must be thoroughly scrubbed with a chemical to remove any impurities. That will probably be caustic soda. The problem that has been drawn to my attention is that reducing the thickness of the bottle reduces also its capacity to withstand scrubbing with caustic soda. I do not think that that rules anything out—I am sure that it does not—but I am exploring the difficulties.