EUROPE's TEN WAYS TO CUT WASTE: January 2007

Ireland

A charge of €0.15 (10p) for every plastic bag was brought in five years ago. The number of bags used has fallen by a billion a year.

Greece

Rather than purchase olive oil in small, luxury bottles, Greeks buy their supplies in bulk directly from the source - in aluminium cans

Denmark

Packaging based on natural products such as corn starch is being pioneered so that food will be sold in edible containers.

Germany

At supermarkets, there are three separate recycling bins in which to throw away the plastic, paper or metal packaging of products.

Sweden

Producers of tyres, packaging, vehicles and electrical goods have to dispose of their products in an environmentally friendly way when their life span ends.

Belgium

Supermarkets take deposits on plastic and glass bottles with a refund voucher given when the empty is returned.

Austria

Aban has been enforced on tinned drinks. Empty bottles are dumped in special machines, which return a deposit.

Italy

When Italians have finished their wine they go to 'vino sfuzo' wholesalers and refill their bottles from vats instead of buying more bottles.

France

Carrefour, the supermarket chain, sells 'soap sausages': shower gel, soap and shampoo refills in polythene tubes which reduce the need to buy new bottles each time.

Spain

A market culture means wrapped produce is viewed suspiciously. Food is displayed in the open to be checked for freshness.