More than three quarters of UK firms ‘unaware’ of Plastic Packaging Tax

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Research conducted by YouGov, on behalf of waste management specialist, Veolia, has explored the views of UK-based senior decision-makers across retail and manufacturing businesses on the incoming Plastic Packaging Tax. The tax places a £200 per tonne levy on producers or importers of plastic packaging if they do not include 30% recycled content and will come into force from tomorrow (1st April 2022).

The survey found that only a fifth (22%) of the manufacturing and retail businesses asked had already opted for recycled content in their packaging. To reach the UK’s Net Zero goals, far more businesses must reduce their reliance on virgin materials. The majority of UK retail and manufacturing businesses also support an escalator in percentage of recycled content threshold (63%) and cost charge (50%) as an incentive to use recycled content.

“The UK’s Plastic Packaging Tax is the right way to start getting businesses to push sustainability up the agenda, but it needs to go further,” commented Gavin Graveson, Veolia Northern Europe Zone Senior Executive Vice President. “A tax escalator would make choosing to incorporate recycled content in packaging both economically and environmentally preferable to using virgin materials.

“Not only could the UK save up to 2.89 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year if all plastic packaging included 30% recycled content, it would also incentivise investment in domestic infrastructure which could make the UK a world leader in plastics recycling.”

The UK retail and manufacturing businesses that made changes to their plastic packaging reported that two thirds (66%) have reduced the amount of unnecessary or avoidable plastic packaging, while more than half (58%) now use recycled content. In addition, 54% have changed the packaging design to make it more recyclable and 39% have chosen alternative materials to plastic for their packaging.

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