If you’ve been wondering what’s been going on with the recent plastics tax, we’re going to break down why there’s been a hike and why it’s affecting people across the board since it took effect this past Spring. In April, consumer packaged goods companies (CPGs) in the U.K. were mandated to pay a tax on the production and import of plastics for packaging at 200 pounds per ton- if it’s less than 30% recycled material. The reason is that the U.K. government hopes more companies use recycled plastics, especially since we’re in a country that drags behind many of our European neighbours.
What’s been said about the tax in terms of reasoning and scope is that it’ll be invested in collection, separation & processing, and identifying recyclable plastic, while educating consumers. This is a move to stimulate recycling and reduce the use of virgin plastics, encouraging manufacturers, brands, and retailers to use more environmentally friendly materials. It’s also one of those moments where it offers the consumer the power to reach for the products they know continually are impactful.
This tax follows the phasing out of the bottle deposit program, which washed and reused glass bottles, which was adequate to a degree, but needs to be a shade of a more extensive program that works diligently toward eco-progress. And another roadblock for that program was its ineffectiveness for anything that wasn’t a soda or beer.
Putting the Power Back in the Hands of the People
The refilling idea works to a point. But life happens. The tax is one of those moments where the government had to push for the manufacturing of plastics and glass within the paradigm of being more ecologically friendly. At its core, it’s a moment to consider how they can adapt their packaging to avoid paying the tax.
Creating a less wasteful manufacturing system impacts a lot of cogs throughout the supply chain, which is another reason to consider being green rather than relying on constant new materials.
Suppose the money is used to invest locally to improve areas and show the benefits of thinking green continually. In that case, that’s a big win for communities everywhere, which could prove the tax to be successful.
One of the easiest ways to reach these goals is to work with companies dedicated to maintaining verdant systems that rely on continued research on making products and packaging that doesn’t add to the ever-increasing carbon footprint. But how will producers prove they’ve hit their 30% ratio? They’ll have to rely on third-party certifications from companies like SCS, a global accreditation organization.
It’s Going to Take Work
Suppose the U.K. is serious about this margin. In that case, companies will need access to recyclable materials, which will, in turn, create a need for an expanded infrastructure, with more collectors and processors coming online.
Consumers won’t be able to tell if the product is made from recycled materials, but they care that the packaging is sturdy and performed. But typically, most consumers are happy to buy a product made from recycled materials. Spain and Italy both have plans for similar measures. At the same time, The European Commission states, “This is expected to encourage member states to reduce packaging waste and stimulate Europe’s transition towards a circular economy by implementing the European Plastics Strategy.” And over in America, new laws are continually being argued about in the Congressional chambers on this subject, with both parties sometimes agreeing on America’s waste issues.
One of the things ePac is most proud of is that we’ve been working on staying green since day one, but also that we’re dedicated to finding as many alternatives as possible to standard plastic packaging. We believe in using biodegradable packaging made from recycled materials. As the fight against climate change becomes apparent by the day, there are many ways brands and consumers can fight back to endure their voice being heard, but also that the products they consume aren’t a part of the problem.
If you’re a brand looking to make a change, we’d love to talk and show you how we’re always putting in the work to help brands of every shape and size reach their goals while also helping with lessening our environmental impact matter what country.