April 2022 is when the UK Plastic Packaging Tax comes into force, but will it be a good opportunity for businesses to improve economic circularity while reducing costs? As a leading packaging data specialist, ecoVeritas has analysed the business benefits with the potential drawbacks of the tax and advises companies to start reducing their liability now to avoid costly implications nearer the time.
An opportunity for change
A 2019 IPSOS survey reported that 48% of consumers believed that higher taxes should be imposed on supermarkets and shops that are predominantly using non-recyclable packaging. Packaging brands and retailers must be mindful of consumer behaviour going forward and ensure that they are making a consolidated effort to re-evaluate their packaging strategy and improve their environmental footprint. This may mean switching polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics to recycled PET, using more recycled materials in general or developing new design innovations to reduce the amount of plastic required. Brands that have already started to make these changes, such as Coca-Cola, Mattel and The Co-op, are now discovering there are potential cost-savings in their manufacturing processes as a result, alongside the improved environmental credentials.
More investment in waste management infrastructure
Aside from cost and environmental savings, brands and retailers that back the UK Plastic Packaging Tax will also see a ripple effect through the supply chain. According to the same IPSOS survey, 46% of consumers said that government investment is needed to improve recycling rates. So, not only will the tax help to create new markets for recyclable materials that have traditionally ended up in landfill, but it will also open up new investment opportunities in the UK’s waste management infrastructure. With more investment, the supply chain can begin to utilise valuable materials for recycling purposes that have usually been lost to export markets, benefiting both UK businesses and the ultimate consumer.
Reducing business liability
The UK Plastics Packaging Tax should be seen as a positive force for change. Right now, it’s a short-term pain and, if approached in the right way with packaging that’s optimised for a circular economy, it can reduce your liability in the long-term.
At ecoVeritas, we can help you avoid unnecessary costs by undertaking impact assessments in your supply chain, or by aiding your packaging optimisation strategy through quantifiable data analysis and by putting the correct systems in place for audit purposes.