The Sustainable Development Commission has called on Defra to develop a packaging strategy to help boost packaging recovery and minimise waste.
In a report on the sustainability of the retail chain, the commission described government policies on waste as insufficient to achieve the "step-change" in sustainable use of resources.
The report Green, Healthy and Fair honed in on the packaging producer responsibility system PRN and noted a dearth of incentives for retailers to cut their use of packaging.
The commission slammed the UK for having "one of the worst records of dumping waste in landfill in Europe".
The commission urged Defra to develop a packaging strategy with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, WRAP, manufacturers, producers and retailers.
Tim Lang, commissioner at the Sustainable Development Commission, said: "There are many areas where the government and retailers are already working together, but government needs to be more ambitious. With public scrutiny of retailers' behaviour increasing, many supermarkets are keen to work with government to develop a green, healthy and fair food system.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said the UK's largest retailers were already investing heavily to cut their environmental record.
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