PIFA chairman Dick Searle hit out at “junk science” from green lobbyists at the association’s agm last month. He called for “sanity and science” on environmental issues across Europe and worldwide, backed by more UK investment in energy from waste.

“The influence of environmental pressure groups has become totally disproportionate and this is most apparent in the European Parliament. The search for higher and higher recycling targets has now abandoned scientific fact and become driven purely by politics.

“We now have the ludicrous situation where packaging waste is transported huge distances at an energy cost far greater than the value of the raw material.

“PIFA is not prepared to sit by and see legislation imposed which actually damages the environment while claiming to improve it.

“We have pointed out that packaging is not a product in its own right but a service to protect and transport products. Scant attention is paid to the huge contribution packaging makes to minimise the environmental impact of product wastage.

“Closer to home, as pointed out just a few days ago by the House of Commons environmental audit committee, the UK will have a real problem in meeting recycling targets with the current waste infrastructure.

“Yet I see continued and unfounded resistance to waste incineration with energy recovery even though this is widely used in Switzerland, Sweden, many other parts of Europe and Japan as an environmentally superior alternative to recycling for markets that do not, will not or cannot exist.

“Why do environmentalists forget that incineration actually saves millions of tonnes of fossil fuels across Europe that would otherwise be necessary to produce electricity and hot water?”