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Green Goods To Come To The Front Of UK's Shelves

Department for Environment, Food And Rural Affairs (UK)

Green goods to come to the front of Britain's shelves

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:

* There is a fall in the amount of household waste produced per person which is not re-used, recycled, or composted;

* Household recycling rates have continued to increase. Early indications are that the national average has risen in the first part of 2007/08 to 33%;

* The amount of commercial and industrial waste being sent to landfill has continued to fall;

* More energy is being recovered from waste; and

* Less biodegradable waste is being sent to 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.

NOTES

1. The Sustainable Products and Materials progress report is available at . http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/consumerprod/index.htm

2. The Waste Strategy progress report is available athttp://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/strategy/strategy07/index.htm .

3. 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/index.htm

4. You can read more about Market Transformation Programme "Policy Analysis and Projections" at http://www.mtprog.com/

6. 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.

***

CASE STUDY

Milk Roadmap

Earlier in the week the Prime Minister called on consumers to waste less food, but what we also need to do is make food less wasteful.

We have been working with dairy farmers (producers), milk processors, retailers (supermarkets) and had the support of a dairy industry taskforce to produce a Milk Roadmap.

The Milk Roadmap sets out measures to further reduce the environmental impact of producing, processing and consuming liquid milk. Building on the good work already done within the industry.

The roadmaps aim to capture evidence on the impacts of each product across its life cycle, develop a vision of the future, and agree practical actions to help transform that product (or the market) towards that more sustainable future. In practical terms this meant that we looked at:

Environmental Impact, Economic drivers, Production of liquid milk itself, (including covering areas like packaging and transport), Future of the dairy industry, where it was going and where we would like it to be.

What came through most clearly was how interwoven milk is to the natural environment. Cows need good conditions to produce high quality milk, they need feed, the need good land, they need water. In turn cows and the fields they graze in play their part in biodiversity. The dairy industry is also integrated into the beef industry, so by doing this work we were able to begin the process of change throughout an entire sector.

Using this work we were able to identify areas with a particularly large impact, or areas where improvement could be made with cross-industry agreement.

This work is far from over, but we have made a lot of progress and so far including:

* By 2020 half of all milk packaging will be made from recycled materials

* Dairy producers have committed to reducing the greenhouse gas balance from dairy farms by 20-30% between 1990 and 2020

* The production sector has undertaken to boost the number of dairy farmers taking part in environmental stewardship schemes to 65%

* It has also undertaken to boost nutrient planning to 90% and animal health plans to 95%, enhancing their ecosystems, improving animal welfare and cutting emissions from soil and fertiliser.

Having secured these agreements the dairy industry are undertaking the following measures to achieve them:

* To send zero ex-factory waste to landfill.

* Large processors will achieve an absolute reduction in water use of 30% through increased water reuse and recycling against a 2007 baseline (small processors to achieve a 20% reduction).

* All tertiary packaging is to be re-usable or recyclable

* Dairy UK will work with dairy companies to extend where feasible Centralised Anaerobic Digesters at processing sites.

* Processors will reduce transport emissions per litre of milk by optimisation or vehicles and transport routes.

* 10% of non-transport energy use to come from renewable sources or Combined Heat & Power/Tri-Generation systems for all processors.

* All liquid milk processing sites will implement a carbon management programme.

* All processors to undertake benchmarking of energy efficiency in terms of CO2 emissions and energy (kWh) relative per tonne of finished product.

***

CASE STUDY

Continental Clothing

Continental Clothing has worked closely with The Carbon Trust trialling a method to measure CO2 emissions and with Defra as part of their work towards a Clothing roadmap.

Continental Clothing produces an Earth PositiveTM brand to demonstrate the viability of producing clothing with a positive social and a minimal environmental footprint.

Established in 1994, Continental Clothing is a business-to-business wholesaler of blank printable t-shirts, polo shirts and sweatshirts for corporate, leisure and promotional wear.

The Earth PositiveTM shirt

* All processing, except ginning, takes place in a location within the Tamil Nadu region in India;

* Manufactured predominantly using sustainable electricity generated from wind, a wind turbine is located nearby and owned by the textile mill;

* Made from 100% certified organic cotton;

* Fairly traded (certified by Fairwear Foundation for fair labour conditions);

* It is on sale in the UK, mainland Europe, North America, Australia and Japan.

Continental Clothing worked with The Carbon Trust on the PAS2050 pilot which calculates embedded emissions of CO2 across the life cycle of a product. Found that using renewable electricity reduced the carbon footprint by nearly 90%, from 6.5kg to 650g (Men's white T-shirt in size Large).

The pilot demonstrated a number of firsts

* the first involving a small to medium size enterprise, demonstrating the scalability of PAS 2050;

* the first involving renewable energy;

Through the Clothing roadmap Defra is working with a wide variety of stakeholders to develop practical and effective actions to deliver more sustainable clothing, highlighting examples of good practice such as Continental Clothing.

***

CASE STUDY

TVs case study

In 2007, TVs used around 13 Terra Watt hours (7 MtCO2) - equivalent to the annual output from more than 3 standard power stations. Statistics from Defra's Market Transformation Programme show that this could potentially rise to 19 TWh by 2012.

The TV market is undergoing rapid change in technology mix which will continue to alter in the future, and although the energy consumption of many TV sets is decreasing, tendency to buy larger screens can result in higher energy consumption overall.

The Government is challenging the industry to improve the environmental performance of TVs and will build on the work done through the policy analysis and projection report and the product roadmap process.

There are a number of existing and future interventions presented in the pa&p report which are designed to help the industry meet this challenge:

* Through the work of the Market Transformation Programme the Government has developed forward looking standards to 2020 to challenge all parties in the supply chain to deliver more energy efficient TVs.

* Minimum performance standards for TVs will be proposed at a European level in the coming months; the UK will press for ambitious standards and also welcomes the Commission's intention to extend mandatory energy labelling to TVs.

* 1 Watt standby standard will be mandatory for all TVs sold in Europe from 2010 as part of the recent agreement in Europe under the Eco-design of Energy-using Products Framework Directive

Manufacturers are responding to this challenge by:

* Reducing the average power consumption of TVs in standby mode. This has significantly decreased from 6W on average in 1995 to 2.6 Watt with the best in class now 0.3 Watt.

* Best in class TVs can consume as little as half the energy of the average TV . e.g. a 42inch Eco Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) can operate on as little as 75 Watt.

* The Energy Saving Trust's Energy Saving Recommended (ESR) labelling programme provides consumers with information about product performance and endorses the most efficient products. ESR have endorsed over 160 Integrated Digital TVs to date.

* Beyond 2010, newly emerging TV technologies such as Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) screens or Field Emission Displays (FED), will offer potential energy savings in both manufacture and use compared to existing LCD technology.

* New technology allows the backlighting intensity to be altered on the TV depending on the locations or room brightness, reducing power consumption by up to 50%.

So there is a lot of good work underway and in order to realise even greater savings TVs are one of the pilot product roadmaps. The roadmap will build on these existing interventions to work with stakeholders to identify further key areas for improvement across the whole life-cycle of the TV.

Client ref News Release ref :219/08
COI ref 163243P

ENDS

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