This afternoon I met with TIPA, a company that seeks to promote natural packaging which decomposes back into the soil as an alternative to the challenge that flexible packaging poses to the world.
As a passionate advocate for better waste management that moves away from the harmful and inefficient Beddington Incinerator, I was grateful to have the opportunity to learn more from Michael, Franz and Richard on the benefits that biodegradable packaging has for the environment.
TIPA’s vision is for flexible packaging to have the same end-of-life as organic matter without compromising on the qualities conventional plastics provide shoppers. Currently, however, only 4 per cent of flexible plastic is recycled in the UK and this is unlikely to rise without significant change. TIPA’s 100 per cent compostable plastic, which performs the same way as normal plastic does, provides an alternative to the harmful packaging we currently see in the shops.
Sadly, 97 per cent of conventional flexible packaging ends up in landfills and oceans, but TIPA’s innovative design would allow consumers to dispose of their food packaging in the same way they would their food waste. With UK recycling legislation set to make separate food waste collection mandatory by 2023, this presents a unique opportunity to redefine the way we deal with our waste.
With a 52 per cent recycling rate, I know that Sutton is keen to find alternative ways to recycle our waste that is more beneficial to the environment and takes our climate into consideration. As a councillor, I voted in favour of declaring a climate emergency and have held ambitious plans for Carshalton and Wallington ever since. Part of this includes exploring less damaging ways to package our food and making it easier for the consumer to identify and recycle their waste.
Earlier this year, I spoke in Parliament for the third time on waste incineration and recycling rates after the Liberal Democrat-run Sutton Council agreed to increase Beddington Lane’s maximum capacity for waste by more than 700,000 tonnes. Under the new south London waste plan, Sutton will take more than half of all the waste produced by Kingston, Croydon, Merton and Sutton, amounting to around 500 heavy goods vehicles sent through Beddington each day.
This is completely unfair to residents, who have once again been let down by the Lib Dem Council. Instead of allowing Sutton to become the dumping ground of south London, Sutton Council should be exploring new ways to reduce our waste in the first place and give residents the power to recycle and compost their waste at home. Many will know that incineration is only slightly better than landfill and as well as calling for a reduction in waste, I have been pushing the Council to install an independently run air quality monitoring station near the Beddington Lane site to tackle air pollution.
I have offered to support TIPA in their mission to change the way we use packaging and will raise this matter directly with ministerial colleagues.