7 min read
April 29, 2022
The amount of plastic waste produced is a growing environmental concern around the world. Many people worry that our planet will soon be overrun with plastic pollution, threatening wildlife and ecosystems. While policymakers have scrambled to find solutions to this problem, this new idea introduced in April 2022 could provide an effective way to reduce the reliance on plastic packaging in the food and beverage industry: a tax on plastic packaging.
In the UK it is estimated that five million tonnes of plastic are used every year, nearly half of which is the packaging. The UK Government publishes regular statistics on the amount of plastic packaging produced and on its final treatment, although some of these statistics have been questioned for their accuracy both by the National Audit Office and WWF-UK.
Plastics came into existence in 1907 by accident, it grew very popular around the 1950s when high-density polyethylene was created. Plastics are made from fossil fuels which are clearly a non-renewable source. According to reports, plastic is considered a low-quality material in terms of renewable and sustainable use, with it being estimated that 4% of the world's oil production is used as feedstock.
The trouble is that, in today's society, we have become so reliant on plastic that eliminating it completely may be difficult.
The world currently uses around 400 million tonnes of paper per year. And from money to cardboard boxes, to receipts, coffee cups, stick-on notes, baking paper, egg cartons, birthday cards, straws, wrapping paper, and, of course, paper-mâché, it’s hard to imagine modern life without it.
The demand for paper products and paper packaging is growing more and more all over the world, as we look to reduce the amount of single-use plastic. Paper is fast becoming the option to replace the plastic products that we use on a daily basis.
The last few years have seen numerous retailers announce that they are switching to paper bags, while paper-based chocolate wrappers, ready-meal trays, and water bottles have also started to emerge.
Paper is very recyclable, with European countries recycling it an average of 3.8 times. The European paper industry uses 56% of the fibrous raw material derived from recycled paper.
In 2020, European citizens recycled 56 million tonnes of paper – a recycling rate of 74%. This approaches the stated practical maximum of 78%.
The recycling rate for paper packaging is considerably higher, with 83% of paper and cardboard packaging in Europe being recycled. Paper is the most recycled packing material (80 percent), followed by metal (80%), glass (75%), and plastic (42%).
The tax, which is being levied on manufacturers and importers of plastic packaging, is to help to offset the environmental costs associated with production and disposal. Supporters of the tax say it will encourage the use of alternative packaging materials, such as bioplastics and paper, which have lower environmental impacts.
The primary legislation (set out in Finance Act 2021) provides that the tax applies at a rate of £200/tonne on plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled plastic manufactured or imported into the UK (including packaging on goods that are imported).
There is a growing movement to fight plastic pollution in our world, and many policymakers are turning to innovative ideas to address this problem. One possible solution is a tax on plastic packaging in the food and beverage industry. By making plastic packaging more expensive, manufacturers and importers will be encouraged to seek alternatives, such as bioplastics or paper. These materials have a lower environmental impact and are better for the planet.
Whether you support this idea or not, it is clear that we need to take action if we want to reduce our reliance on plastic packaging in the food and beverage industry.
The plastic tax solution
Some view the plastic tax as a promising solution to the growing problem of plastic pollution in our world. Making plastic packaging more expensive, it could encourage manufacturers and importers to look for alternatives such as bioplastics or paper. These materials have a lower environmental impact and are better for the planet.
There are, however, some critics of the plastic tax. Some people argue that it would drive up prices for consumers or place an unfair burden on small businesses. Others say that the focus should be on recycling programs rather than penalising manufacturers, who may not always have control over how their products are packaged.
What do you need to do to for plastic tax?
The first stage is to study all of the government rules on taxes, including their many and continuing modifications, and evaluate how they apply to your packaging usage and operation.
The second step is to examine your packaging practices and identify which of them are contributing to plastic pollution.
Once this has been done, you can work with policymakers on designing an effective implementation strategy for the plastic tax. This might involve switching to more environmentally-friendly materials, increasing recycling efforts, or some combination of these measures.
How to avoid plastic tax?
Luckily, there are several recyclable and more environmentally responsible options for pretty much every packaging situation in which you utilise plastic in any of your packaging processes. From cardboard packing tubes to crinkle-cut recycled paper fill, paper bags, and mailers.
Bubble wrap alternative
Rather than using bubble wrap, consider switching to 50 percent recycled bubble wrap rolls or even paper bubbles. The former is simply low-density polythene bubble wrap made from 50% recycled material - so it's well within the 30% packaging tax threshold - that can be used as normal bubble wrap to protect goods during transit and storage. Paper bubble offers a 100% recyclable alternative to bubble wrap. Made from 100% recycled paper, it offers the perfect environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic packaging, as well as getting you off the packaging tax hook. There is something for everyone.
When it comes to more environmentally responsible packaging options, crinkle-cut recycled paper is a great choice. This material is made from 100% recycled paper and can be used to protect goods during transit and storage. Crinkle-cut recycled paper is a great alternative to bubble wrap, which can be difficult to recycle.
Paper E-commerce bags
There are several recyclable and more environmentally responsible options for pretty much every packaging situation in which you utilise plastic in any of your packaging processes. You can now buy e-commerce paper bags, replacing the poly mailers and also reducing the need to use oversized boxes. These e-commerce paper bags come in a variety of sizes to fit most products, saving space on vans and in warehouses.
An option that has been available for quite some time now is the fully recyclable paper kraft bags, these are a brilliant swap to make from plastic bags - perfect for supermarkets, small retailers, jewelers, clothes, and much more. They are available in multiple sizes and colours, most companies can also print your branding, logo, and special messages on them too!
The plastic tax is a proposed solution to the growing problem of plastic pollution in our world. By making plastic packaging more expensive, manufacturers and importers will be encouraged to seek alternatives, such as bioplastics or paper. These materials have a lower environmental impact and are better for the planet.
There are some critics of the plastic tax, but overall it is a promising solution that could help to reduce the amount of plastic waste in our world.
What do you think about the plastic tax? Do you think it is a good idea to help our environment?
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