Brands & retailers are waking up to the realities of the Plastic Packaging Tax

Packaging data specialist, ecoveritas, has shared its perspective on how retailers and brands are responding to the incoming UK Plastic Packaging Tax, and believes many are only now appreciating the potential impacts to their supply chains.

ecoveritas is seeing a significant acceleration in activity, particularly in the food and FMCG sectors. This includes fuller auditing of existing plastic packaging and the creation of new reporting methodologies. The tax, which comes into force in April 2022, will charge businesses for plastic packaging that contains less than 30% recycled plastic, at a rate of £200 per tonne of packaging.

The changes seen by ecoveritas follow the release of the Plastic Packaging Tax secondary legislation for consultation. The latest advisory documents include more clarity on plastic content and substantial modification roles, alongside deferrals and credits, registration, administration and weighing. The new documentation also provides example of due diligence required to avoid secondary liability for unpaid tax across the supply chain.

Josh Remi, Commercial Manager at ecoveritas, explains: “Like every large-scale regulatory change, brands react in many different ways; after all, no two businesses are alike. However, from our perspective, many larger brands and retailers have underestimated the scale of data required, as well as potential costs involved with the UK Plastic Packaging Tax and time is running short.

“One potential explanation is the ‘£200 per tonne’ cost outlay given for packaging manufactured in, or imported to, the UK. When we look at the high volumes in today’s retail chains, it can be extremely easy for in-house teams to underestimate the combined tonnage we’re looking at. At a glance, a £200 per tonne tax could feel like a drop in the ocean.

“As we look ahead to the implementation of the tax in April 2022 – just a few short months away – it’s critical that we keep our foot on the accelerator and ensure all stakeholders involved understand what they’re exposed to from a data reporting and cost perspective. While the tax is an opportunity to drive real, lasting change in the industry and is set to expedite use of recycled substrate, it will also present challenges.

“ecoveritas is keen to support our customers through these changing regulatory waters by harnessing the power of data, ensuring compliance and offering a fresh perspective on ‘green’ commerce as a whole.”

ecoveritas partners with brands, retailers and their supply chains to turn packaging data into a sustainability-led competitive edge. The business offers a wide range of tools and services, including auditing and consultancy and global Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) support. Notably, the ecoveritas website includes a Plastic Tax Calculator, a handy free-to-use tool to help businesses of every size uncover their tax liability ahead of the regulatory changes.

Josh added: “We are pleased to see retailers and brands waking up to the reality of the Plastic Packaging Tax while there is still time to prepare, but what does this tell us about the future of sustainable packaging? It’s that we mustn’t undervalue the sheer amount of plastic packaging that we are so reliant on. With a potential shortage of recycled substrates on the horizon, it’s the ideal time for brands and retailers to turn intention into action with a dedicated partner like ecoveritas.”

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