Manufacturers and retailers last week agreed to make huge cuts to food and packaging waste that could save customers and the industry £1bn and reduce carbon emissions by three million tonnes.

Phase Two of the Courtauld Commitment will reduce the environmental impact of packaging, and address the waste from manufacture and supply.

Announcing the agreement, environment secretary Hilary Benn said: "A fifth of household waste is packaging, and more than half of this comes from the groceries we buy.

"Grocery manufacturers and retailers have already started to take action and have halted the increase in packaging. The new commitment sees them go further than ever in reducing food waste and packaging, and making it smarter."

Among the signatories was the Co-op Group. Group chief executive Peter Marks said: "We have already demonstrated through our Co-operative Watch Your Waste events, along with simple ideas such as printing storage instructions on loose produce bags, how a retailer is able to empower customers to tackle the problem of household food waste."

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