Defra appoints new packaging advisory committee

Environment minister Dan Norris has announced 10 industry experts who have been appointed to the new, restructured Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP).

I have been involved with the packaging debate for at least 20 years and have always been interested in the need for a broker between public concern and the need for good packaging

 
Robert Lisney OBE, ACP chair

And, as predicted by letsrecycle.com last month, (see letsrecycle.com story) local authority waste management expert Robert Lisney OBE is to lead the body as chair.

The committee will advise the government over the next four years on how to achieve its ambitions outlined in the UK's Packaging Strategy, entitled ‘Making the most of packaging' and published in June 2009 (see letsrecycle.com story).

This will include: the functioning of the producer responsibility regulations for packaging waste; packaging optimisation including embedding eco-design and promoting greater use of recycled materials; incorporating carbon and life cycle analysis considerations into the producer responsibility system; and maximising the environmental benefits of recycling packaging waste.

The new body is made up of representatives from throughout the packaging supply chain (see table below) and includes four re-appointments and six new appointments. Two further posts – for an accredited exporter and waste management company involved in the collection of packaging – have been re-advertised due to difficulties in filling the places. The deadline closed for these applications last Friday (February 5) and they are currently being assessed by Defra, which said it would announce who has been chosen in due course.

Re-appointments include Andy Doran from aluminium manufacturer Novelis, Andrew Green from British Polythene Industries PLC, Paul Smith from Coca-Cola Enterprises and Steve Gough from compliance and recycling specialist Valpak.

The three new members, from industry, are: David Williams of steel giant Corus; Helene Roberts from Marks and Spencer; and, Paul Van Danzig from producer compliance scheme Wastepack.

Notably, there are also three new members from the local authority sector – representing a break away from the traditional industry-only focus of the body. These are: former chair of the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee Lee Marshall; Lisa Foster from trading standards at Lincolnshire county council; and, Mr Lisney.

This change is expected to be welcomed by councils, some of whom have felt that industry has had too much influence over packaging policy in the past and want a more balanced debate – especially with regards to overpackaging and ensuring that the producer pays principle is enforced.

Career

Mr Lisney set up his own consultancy business, LRL, in 2005 after a long and successful career in the public sector working as assistant director for the environment at Hampshire county council.

He was instrumental in the development of the award-winning public/private network of 13 local authorities and contractors known as Project Integra to deal with Hampshire's domestic waste and has also helped to inform national debate.

Commenting on his appointment, he praised the “magnificent” work done by his predecessor and former chair John Turner, who had years of experience working in the packaging industry.

He said: “I have known John for a long time. I worked a lot with him in the National Waste Awareness Initiative – a forerunner of the Recycle Now programme – making the case for government investment in national recycling. Ten years ago John was a packaging head and brought a lot of knowledge to the debate.”

Mr Lisney said that he himself had been involved in the packaging debate for over 20 years and was always interested “in the need for a broker between public concern over packaging and the need for good packaging.”

Targets 

The ACP has traditionally been focused on advising the government on matters relating to meeting European and domestic packaging recycling targets.However, Mr Lisney said that the recovery of packaging should not just about meeting targets.

He said: “Packaging targets are all very well in their own right but I'm also very keen to go for what's the most effective recycling route for material and energy.”

He added: “The packaging industry has a fantastic amount of knowledge about their products. If the committee can debate all these things and advise the secretary of state on policies that will be a really good achievement over the next few years.”

Looking forward, Mr Lisney said he did not expect the work of the ACP to change dramatically but that commercial and industrial waste was perhaps something the committee may have to look at, following a government statement in October 2009 (see letsrecycle.com story).

A consultation is also expected later this month on changes to the packaging producer responsibility regulations, including future recycling targets, which the ACP will be expected to help implement.

The committee will start work on March 1 2010 and appointments are for a term of four years. All members of the committee, except the chair, are unpaid.

The full membership of the new ACP is:

ACP position

Name

Company

Chairman Robert Lisney  LRL Consultancy Services Ltd

Raw material manufacturer or reprocessor accredited under the Packaging Regulations (two positions)

Andy Doran

David Williams

 Novelis Recycling

Corus

Converter Andrew Green  British Polythene Industries Plc
Packer filler Paul Smith Coca-Cola Enterprises 
Retailer Helene  Roberts  Marks and Spencer
Compliance scheme (2 positions)

Paul Van Danzig

Steve Gough

 Wastepack

Valpak

Local authority Lee Marshall  Powys county council and LARAC
Consumer representative Lisa Foster  Packaging team leader, trading standards, Lincolnshire county council
Source: Defra    

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