Packaging Industry

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 12:10 pm on 5th July 2011.

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Photo of Mark Prisk Mark Prisk The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills 12:10 pm, 5th July 2011

I am mindful of that, and the hon. Gentleman has made a good point about overheads. Clearly, energy is a crucial issue. That is why, while we want to ensure that we set the right regulatory environment so that generators in renewables come forward, we do not unintentionally see an unreasonable detrimental impact on the users of energy. That is a difficult balancing act to strike, but that is why we have made it clear that, while we want to pursue the regulatory framework, we want to look at those industries that find themselves under particular pressure with regards to their use of energy. Clearly, electricity rather than gas is the centre of that process.

Other regulatory issues have been raised with regard to waste policy. The waste strategy is focused on waste reduction, driving recycling and the reduction of packaging. We take the view that that can best be achieved in partnership with the sector. That comes back to the important issue, which a number of hon. Members have raised, about the balance between carrot and stick. We genuinely believe that voluntary agreements are one of the best ways forward. In a sense, that is the way in which WRAP operates. It started in 2000 and was designed to advise and help businesses change and innovate—for example, the Courtauld commitment focuses on how waste management can be improved. There have been some important changes. WRAP has been able to secure backing for infrastructure projects with savings of approximately 120 million tonnes of waste from landfill. It also backs programmes such as Rethink Waste, which looks specifically at working with manufacturers to reduce waste and improve resource efficiency. A number of hon. Members have mentioned food and drink. I point to the Federation House commitment, which is important.

In conclusion, this has been a positive debate. We recognise and value the industry, and the change that it is making is important. It is crucial to support and encourage consumer behaviour that enables innovation. We want to work with the industry in a positive dialogue in the weeks and months to come.