Anti-packaging MP meets plastic industry representatives
By Hamish Champ
Posted 5 July 2012
Dunbartonshire-based Hardie Polymers met recently with local MP Jo Swinson, a self-confessed critic of 'over-packaging', to discuss the strategic future of the UK plastics industry.
Joining Fergus Hardie, Hardie Polymers' managing director, was Philip Law, the British Plastics Federation’s (BPF) public and industrial affairs director.
The BPF's Philip Law, MP Jo Swinson and Fergus Hardie
The meeting was based on the BPF's recently-published discussion document, The UK Plastics Industry: A Strategic Manufacturing Sector.
It was the second time that Swinson, Liberal Democrat MP for East Dumbartonshire and deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's Parliamentary Private Secretary, had visited the company.
Swinson, an ardent opponent of excessive packaging, discussed the identity of the plastics industry, global export opportunities as well as the sector’s manpower and training needs.
Hardie said: “Jo has been a prominent critic of over-packaging and we had an opportunity to make some points about the futility of bag taxes and the tendency of the media to focus on quite narrow issues, take one side of a story and discolour the image of plastics as a whole.”
For the BPF Philip Law added: “Jo is obviously a rising star in the coalition government and has been particularly close to Vince Cable.
“She was keen to hear about the markets with most export potential and in return she articulated the government's strategy of encouraging the development of clusters around academic centres of excellence in a bid to 'catapult' UK firms into overseas markets.”
Swinson told PRW she “really enjoyed” her visit to Hardie and hear about the company’s successes, the UK plastics industry’s contribution to the wider economy and the export situation.
She said she was also encouraged by the industry’s sustainability message, and that while she remained critical of over-packaging, "it's not the plastics industry’s fault that products are over-packaged. Retailers have a responsibility too. And I recognise the role the plastics industry in the UK is playing in reducing the amount of material used in such areas.
“That’s a positive, but an eye should still be kept on what is being used. Our goal must be to reduce the amount of whatever material is used in things like shopping bags and packaging,” she added.
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