Why do we tolerate waste packaging?


Sir, – What an excellent letter on waste packaging by Mike O’Neill (February 25th). It contains several valid points well made, in particular that decisions about packaging materials “should not be in the hands of business”.

Mr O’Neill’s letter rightly dispels the tired old myth that all it requires is for consumers to alter their buying patterns and industry will automatically follow. It will not. We need robust, enforceable legislation.

I’m reminded of an occasion on which I visited my local computer accessory store to purchase a USB key (memory stick). I needed the USB key, which was smaller than a child’s finger. I did not need the reinforced scissors-resistant plastic packaging, which was about the size of a toaster. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 18.

Sir, – The plea from Mike O’Neill regarding the need to tackle the packaging crisis warrants our full support. The plastic-packaging industry has led to severe environmental problems with long-lasting, if not irreversible, effects. Food producers and retailers, in particular, seem oblivious to the damage caused by the unconstrained use of plastic containers and wrappings. It is right to demand the use of biodegradable materials wherever possible. In addition, with the full participation of manufacturers and users, we need a thorough reappraisal of packaging practices, a clear enunciation of packaging policy from the Government and enforceable regulations to overcome plastics pollution. Where plastics are returned for recycling, we should insist on public disclosure of where and how this happens; export of waste must not provide an excuse to continue with harmful packaging practices. – Yours, etc,



Co Tipperary.