Perhaps the most intriguing thing to note from the BRC’s spokesperson’s proposals is how constructive and engaging the comments were. Far from resisting any and all calls to regulate the retail sector, the Director of Food Policy, Andrew Opie says the industry “welcomes this strategic and long-term focus” from the government.
On particular issues, we can learn a lot from the industry’s response. The BRC supports the government’s proposals to extend the plastic bag charge to all retailers, for example. This is undoubtedly a good idea if you ask us, since the plastic bag charge has reduced plastic bag usage by over 80 per cent in the UK.
Single-use plastics in supermarkets are an issue that recently gained considerable coverage. The BRC shows encouraging signs that the industry is acknowledging the problem, but also raises some valid concerns. Packaging plays an important role in the preservation of many foods, it says, and thus in reducing food waste.
For this reason, the BRC backs a more nuanced approach to reducing plastic waste than simply placing a blanket tax on the consumer. They support a reform of the current system which would identify clear and specific outcomes rather than simply placing a blanket charge on plastic usage.