Compared with domestic recycling rates of about 50% in Germany, Holland and parts of Scandinavia, the UK manages just 10% – and that despite the amount of waste produced annually increasing by 1M tonnes.

The UK should be ashamed, says Graham Margetson, director of waste packaging software specialists, Foresite Systems, who feels that the problem is not so much attitudinal as born out of pure ignorance.

“A significant proportion of businesses are ill educated as to how they should report the packaging they handle.

“It is therefore not surprising that some companies would prefer to remain in blissful ignorance in terms of waste management and recycling activities rather than invest in environmental enhancements that stakeholders might see of no immediate benefit.

“Therefore, companies must be made aware of their packaging legislation compliance obligations, both by the government and the waste packaging sector.”

Heard it all before? Well, yes – but Foresite has a software solution that enables companies from all industry sectors to comply with the requirements of both the UK, European and world-wide packaging regulations.

The PackTrak software integrates with a company’s own IT systems. It is completely scaleable, from a single one-seat PC installation to a world-wide Internet solution with hundreds of concurrent users.

Foresite has also created and maintains a Global Packaging Datastore, a database of some 2M product packaging items. The database is a unique national facility and is recognised by the Environment Agency.

“Last month, the European Parliament capitulated over the next deadline for new packaging waste recovery and recycling targets, with member states now having until 31 December 2008 to meet the new targets of 60% for recovery and 55% for recycling,” points out Margetson.

“For UK commerce to grudgingly react to compliance with EU directives is to miss the bigger point. Packaging and waste minimisation not only reduces the impact on the environment but, more importantly, from a commercial point of view helps cut costs and improve margins.”