Why can’t we just produce less waste?

As Coca-Cola launches yet another heavily branded rewards-based initiative around recycling (Recyclers get half-price tickets for attractions, 25 July), it’s interesting to note that the global behemoth apparently still wonders whether deposit systems for bottles and cans increase recycling. Not only was it on a government working group that found that they do, but it runs many deposit systems around the world that see recycling rates as high as 98.5%.

As reward systems only fuel higher levels of consumption, the question is why would a company promote a solution to waste that actually creates more waste? The answer, predictably, is that the system only benefits itself and other big businesses, rather than being better for taxpayers or the environment.

I hope Michael Gove can see through this latest effort by a big company to avoid paying the full costs for collecting and recycling the packaging it creates.
Samantha Harding
Litter programme director, Campaign to Protect Rural England

• Was anyone really surprised to learn that millions of tons of plastic from the UK sent off to be recycled instead goes into landfill site across the world (Plastic waste sent abroad for recycling ‘may go into landfill’, 23 July)?

Our waste is being dumped in countries from Turkey to Malaysia, and poor oversight allows businesses and government departments to claim that action is being taken while not actually making any changes. “The system has evolved into a comfortable way for government to meet targets without facing up to the underlying recycling issues,” according to the National Audit Office.

A couple of pages later we read that “Healthier hospital vending machines cut sugar intake for staff and patients”. Sounds like good news, but patients are now buying bottled water instead – sales rose by 54% in the Leeds trial, so more profit for businesses, and even more plastic to go into landfill as this is rolled out across the country.

Why not stop it at source and provide water fountains or easy access to tap water – and not just in hospitals?

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