Green goods to come to the front of Britain’s shelves
Defra News Release http://www.defra.gov.uk
Green goods will need to become the normal products on our shelves in the future, while products with a big environmental impact will need to change -- and much of the time consumers won’t even notice, Climate Change Minister Joan Ruddock said today.
Publishing progress reports on Sustainable Products and Materials and the Waste Strategy, Ms Ruddock said that the Government and industry were working together to green the whole life cycle of products and services – from the raw materials right through to their use and disposal.
Joan Ruddock said:
“We know people are concerned about their effect on the environment, but they don’t get to see the full picture of what goes into producing the goods they buy – and they don’t see what happens after they’ve thrown them away.
“It needs to be easier for people to buy products that will save them money and reduce their impact on the environment – and that’s exactly what we’re doing. There are real savings to be made – through this action to green the products and materials we use, UK households could save £5 billion a year on their bills.
“Many businesses are already taking positive steps to reduce the environmental impact of their products, and are seeing the real benefits this can have, both for them and their customers. But as fuel prices rise, commodities become scarcer, and families are feeling the pinch, it becomes ever more important for businesses to use resources more efficiently throughout the supply chain, those that don’t will miss out on potential savings, as well as big opportunities for growth.”
The Sustainable Products and Materials report details, for the first time, the action already underway on making products and materials more sustainable throughout their production, use and disposal, across a wide range of products groups including food, electrical appliances and clothing.
Significant achievements to date include:
The piloting of Product Roadmaps, which aim to improve the environmental performance of ten priority products across their life cycles;
Progress towards saving enough energy to power 1.5 million homes by improving the efficiency of some of the biggest energy using products – set top boxes, external power supply units (such as for laptops, mobile phones, and printers), fridges, washing machines, and dishwashers;
An initiative with retailers to take inefficient light bulbs off the shelves by 2011;
Half of all milk packaging to be made from recycled materials by 2020;
Government is setting an example for business through our “Buy Sustainable – Quick Wins workstream.” This tightens minimum standards for public sector procurement. For example most paper used in Government offices must have 100% recycled content and, where non-recycled content is allowed, any virgin fibre used must be sourced from a sustainably managed forest;
Developing the PAS2050, a recognised standard which enables businesses to measure CO2 emissions across the life-cycle of products;
Leading in Europe to bring the energy used by all standby devices sold in the EU down to 1 watt – and to halve that again in four years after that standard is adopted.
The report also sets out a vision for future work on making products more sustainable, and encourages further debate and discussion on how this can be achieved.
UK households could save £5 billion per year from cost-effective energy efficiency improvements to products.
Savings from not wasting so much food could be around £420 for the average UK household. And for households with children it’s even more - £610 a year.
We are confident that with today's technology for metering, tariffs and water efficiency, per capita consumption of water can be reduced through cost effective measures, to an average of 130 litres per person per day by 2030. We hope that developments in new technology and future innovation will improve the cost-effectiveness of these measures over time and this can drive consumption down further to an average of 120 litres per person per day by 2030.
Energy saving light bulbs can reduce lighting costs by up to £100 over the lifetime of the bulb.
Initiatives such as moves by major retailers to reduce environmental impacts demonstrate that resource efficiency is beginning to be seen as a business opportunity.
The Government is also publishing the “Policy Analysis and Projections 2008” report which sets out our vision and trajectories for improvement of efficiency of a range of energy-using products including light bulbs, refrigerators, boilers and consumer electronics till 2020 as well as the evidence underpinning our assessment and challenges to industry for the scale of those improvements.
A summary of progress made since the publication in May 2007 of the Waste Strategy is also published today.
It shows good progress in the main indicators, covering waste growth, recycling and diversion from landfill:
Further work is needed to identify whether an increase in reports of fly tipping incidents represents an increase in fly tipping activity, or whether it reflects continued improvement in the levels of information local authorities provide to the Fly Capture national database. The forecast for 2007/08 anticipates a decrease in fly tipping levels.
The Sustainable Products and Materials progress report is available at . http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/consumerprod/
The Waste Strategy progress report is available athttp://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/strategy/strategy07/.
We are piloting ten product roadmaps to demonstrate the sustainable products approach. - milk, fish, clothing, passenger cars, TVs, domestic lighting, electric motors, window systems, WCs, plasterboard. Further information on each of the roadmaps is available at http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/consumerprod/products/.
You can read more about Market Transformation Programme “Policy Analysis and Projections” at http://www.mtprog.com/.
Within the Waste Strategy its important to note that an increase in hazardous waste between 2004 and 2006 was largely due to a single waste treatment plant. This has now revised its processes and treats its liquid waste instead of disposing of it under a consented discharge.
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