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Volume 167: debated on Wednesday 14 February 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions he has had with the packaging industry about the need for minimum packaging policies to reduce waste; and if he will make a statement.

I have been asked to reply.My Department's environmental programme has given priority to waste minimisation issues and the "Cutting Your Losses" brochure published last year emphasised the importance of reducing waste in all industrial sectors, including the packaging industry. We are now organising a design for the environment conference at the national exhibition centre on 28 March; this will consider environmental design problems and in particular will examine how products can be redesigned to minimise waste during the manufacturing and packaging process. The conference will act as a springboard for other design-related initiatives to promote awareness in this area. My Department is also of course in frequent touch with the packaging industry on the full range of environmental issues.