The impact of plastic packaging on the environment – we can no longer shy away from this, yet we continue to produce excessive plastic waste in the UK and across the globe. According to a recent study, more than 1.3 billion tonnes of plastic could enter the environment globally by 2040.1 Plus, researchers predict that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans, unless we change our behaviour. With such a pressing need to protect the environment, governments worldwide are looking at measures to significantly increase recycling and reuse and prevent further damage. And they’re looking closely at the effects of plastic packaging on the environment.

Here, in the UK, one such measure is the Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT), which takes effect from 1 April 2022. The tax aims to increase the use of recycled plastic in packaging by around 40%. That’s equal to carbon savings of nearly 200,000 tonnes in 2022 to 2023, based on current carbon factors. Our question is whether Plastic Packaging Tax will really reduce the impact of plastic packaging on the environment?

 Reducing the impact of plastic packaging on the environment

The impact of plastic packaging on the environment

The impact of plastic packaging on the environment

The impact on the environment is a stark reminder that there is no future in limited resources. To encourage more sustainable approaches to products and packaging, the new tax aims to deliver improvements in the way the UK manages waste plastic. In addition, it hopes to support changing behaviour in consumers to recycle and reuse products. As Ariadna Rodrigo, Zero Waste Europe, puts it, “Given the scale and urgency of the problem, a set of economic incentives to cut the production of new plastic while promoting reuse and recycling is urgently needed to stop plastic pollution at source.”[1]

On the surface, the PPT seems to make environmental sense – and also, financial sense. There is high public support for recyclable packaging communities: consumers and citizens all want to see increased social responsibility in their brands and products. A UK survey by INCPEN & WRAP on citizens’ attitudes & behaviours relating to food waste, packaging and plastic packaging highlighted how public concern over packaging has almost doubled.[2]

Our challenge is that to protect the environment, we need to use less – not more – plastic packaging. However, the use of recycled plastic in plastic packaging reduces the effectiveness of the plastic wrap, causing people to have to use more plastic packaging to secure each load. So while they might save on PPT, they’ll be paying more – and using more – plastic packaging. By packaging efficiently – and more responsibly – you can cut costs, and time, as well as showing your concern for the environment.

A more sustainable and eco-friendly packaging approach can boost your brand, products, and operations – and save you money.

For instance, at Acopia, we help our clients make informed decisions to choose eco-friendly and more sustainable plastic packaging, reducing the impact of plastic packaging on the environment which also matches organisations’ specific needs with packaging and process solutions.

A high-performance machine pallet wrap, like iWrap, is a sustainable choice.

Although using virgin plastic, it helps improve your sustainability, with benefits that include:

  1. A reduction in your plastic waste problem with 42.12% less waste plastic going to landfill
  2. A reduction in your cost spend on every pallet wrapped with 57 fewer pallets shipped per year and 3,696 more pallets wrapped per tonne of film
  3. A reduction in time wasted in re-wrapping pallets with 2,056 less roll changes per year

None of us can deny that the time is now, for businesses everywhere to exercise increased corporate social responsibility and move forward with renewable goals that match personal and public ambitions to protect and preserve our planet. It’s all about making choices – the right choices for everyone.

And one final note: updates continue to be added to the Plastic Packaging Tax and the government is still responding to queries on its many complexities. For instance, recent changes have been confirmed to the ‘PPT Statement’. So do keep an eye out for changes from HMRC here.

 

To help you prepare for what the tax will mean for you and how you can benefit, we have created a free eGuide: Is your business prepared for this new taxation?

 Download your FREE Plastic Packaging Tax eGuide here 

Or get in touch with us using the form below and let’s chat about how Acopia can help you make the best sustainable packaging and process choices that are right for your individual business.

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[1] https://zerowasteeurope.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/PlasticsTax_FINAL.pdf

[2] UK survey 2019 on citizens’ attitudes & behaviours relating to food waste, packaging and plastic packaging: Summary report template (wrap.org.uk)

 

According to a recent UK study, more than 1.3 billion tonnes of plastic could enter the environment globally by 20401. Plastic packaging plays a huge part in the world’s use of plastic. To offset the environmental challenges, the Plastic Packaging Tax’s stated aim is to provide incentives to businesses to increase the use of recycled plastic, rather than virgin material, in plastic packaging. But is this the most sustainable choice?  And will this really change behaviour? Are there opportunities for sustainable plastics?

Is the use of recycled material in plastic packaging sustainable?

The need for sustainable plastics

The need for sustainable plastics

From 1 April 2022, the new Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) takes effect in the UK. It’s a tax that’s going to have a significant impact on organisations across a wide range of industries, from packaging and industrial manufacturing to consumer goods, pharmaceutical and food and drinks.

In fact, the current estimate is that it’s going to affect approximately 20,000 producers and importers of plastic packaging. Furthermore, it’s widely expected that it will also affect business customers of producers and importers of plastic packaging, as well as consumers who buy goods in plastic packaging in the UK. The question to ask is whether incorporating at least 30% recycled plastic in plastic packaging the best sustainable choice – for your people, the planet and your profit?

Sustainability and plastic packaging

However, unlike most taxes, PPT isn’t just something tiresome to prepare for, that’ll cost you more in pennies and people-time. It can represent a chance to reassess your options, make informed sustainable decisions and embrace an opportunity for change. A change that might bring significant benefits to your organisation.

Indeed, besides the obvious one – that reducing plastic is better for the environment – there are many benefits to be gained from reducing your plastic packaging and choosing more sustainable plastics.

Seven key benefits of sustainable plastics

  1. Cost savings from reducing costs of product storage, handling and disposal and transport
  2. Time savings to be made that otherwise arise from poorly performing wraps
  3. Eliminating the use of toxic materials in the production of packaging
  4. By recycling virgin plastic, your organisation can make financial gains back (receiving £100-£200 per tonne) – more than offsetting the PPT
  5. Partnerships with local recycling firms to deliver financial – and environmental – benefits
  6. Positive stakeholder engagement, as you demonstrate your support for change and protecting the environment
  7. Generally promoting recycling and reuse and sending less packaging to landfill

Start planning now to introduce sustainable plastics to can reduce your tax liability

Benefits of sustainable plastics

Benefits of sustainable plastics

The choices you plan today will affect your PPT liability from 1 April. Simply put – by making more sustainable choices, such as recycling more and using less packaging, you will pay less tax. It’s also where we can help at Acopia. We’re currently working with many large and small organisations to help them choose the sustainable packaging and process solutions that are right for their organisation; that can provide real benefits to the environment and to business. To give you an example, these might include:

  • Choosing a virgin plastic such as iWrap a high performance pallet wrap which can be recycled and repurposed
  • Choosing a lightweight pallet wrap that weighs 50grms and calculates at only 1p tax

So, while, yes, the tax start date is fast approaching, it’s not a deadline to be wary of. If you can try and reframe this taxation, you can grasp an opportunity to make important changes where, ultimately, your organisation and the environment will both benefit.

And one final note. Updates continue to be added to the Plastic Packaging Tax and the government is still responding to queries on its many complexities. For instance, recent changes have been confirmed to the ‘PPT Statement’. So do keep an eye out on changes from HMRC here.

To help you prepare for what the tax will mean for you and how you can benefit, we have created a free eGuide: Is your business prepared for this new taxation?

Download your FREE guide to The Plastic Packaging Tax here

Or get in touch with us using the form below and let’s chat about how Acopia can help you make the best sustainable packaging and process choices that are right for your individual business.

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How prepared are you for the Plastic Packaging Tax? This is probably one of those questions we all like to avoid, but it’s got to be asked.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” And none of us want to fail when it comes to meeting tax obligations and their potential knock-on effects on business. On the contrary, by putting some time in now to prepare, you might find you can actually benefit – and add significant value to your business – from this new and imminent taxation.

But firstly, let’s take a quick look at what the Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) will mean for your organisation.

What the Plastic Packaging Tax means for you

The PPT takes effect on 1 April 2022. Its overarching aim is to encourage the use of recycled rather than new plastic within plastic packaging. It will apply to plastic packaging manufactured in, or imported into the UK, that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic, at a taxable rate of £200 per tonne.

You will be liable to register for the PPT if you import into the UK, or manufacture in the UK, plastic packaging or products contained in plastic packaging. Most importantly, you must register even if your packaging doesn’t require you to pay tax. In addition, updates continue to be applied to the Plastic Packaging Tax from HMRC, including recent changes to the ‘PPT Statement’ that you need to be aware of.

Changes to the Plastic Packaging Tax in the Autumn budget

Following announcements on the 27th October, six revisions to Plastic Packaging Tax have been proposed in the Autumn budget include:

  1. To allow HRMC to modify the timing of an import, and the meaning of import and custom formalities.
  2. Ensure that businesses who are below the de minimus threshold, who currently do not have a liability to register, do not have to pay the tax.
  3. Provide tax reliefs for persons enjoying certain immunities and privileges, such as visiting forces and diplomats, ensuring compliance with international tax agreements.
  4. Transfer the obligations and entitlements of PPT group members to the representative member of that group.
  5. Require HMRC to notify the representative of a PPT group of the date that applications for and modification of group treatment will take effect.
  6. Change certain terms used to describe unincorporated bodies to ensure consistency throughout the legislation.

As you can see with PPT, that the legislation is still being discussed. In a nutshell: you need to be prepared and kept up to date.

Prepare to succeed with the Plastic Packaging Tax

One crucial first step is to action an impact assessment across your organisation. This will help you develop a more robust picture of how the tax will affect your business, your operations, your processes.

We’ve devised a handy checklist for actions that can help you get started:

  1. Familiarise yourself with the new rules and obligations
  2. Assess supply chains and who the tax will affect
  3. Consider who will be responsible for the PPT accounting
  4. Establish training needs for staff and systems for compliance
  5. Initiate registration with HMRC and plan for annual registrations and de-registrations
  6. Develop reporting framework and administration for tax returns
  7. Assess any future changes to contracts and pricing
  8. Develop stakeholder communication and prepare reputational management strategy

One additional and vital factor as part of any impact assessment is to research alternative packaging options. The PPT naturally creates an opportunity for your organisation to realise your sustainable ambitions – choices that will save you money, improve your reputation and help preserve our environment. And this is where we can also help.

We’re here to help you prepare – and benefit

Acopia Plastic Packaging Tax eGuide

Acopia Plastic Packaging Tax eGuide

We know the importance that customers place on recyclable packaging. And we can help you make sense of the confusion across the industry and with consumers around the issues of plastics. Furthermore, we can guide you towards solutions that provide real benefits to the environment and to your business, supporting you to make sustainable packaging and process choices that are right for your organisation and reduce your tax liability. For instance, our range of high performance hand and machine pallet wrap reduces plastic wastage by 40% and costs by up to 25%.

By packaging efficiently, you can not only cut costs and time, but you can show you care about your environmental impact and improve your brand reputation and stakeholder relations. So, by planning for the PPT, you can prepare to succeed, with choices that will benefit your whole organisation.

To help you prepare for what the tax will mean for you and how you can benefit, we have created a free eGuide: Is your business prepared for this new taxation?

Download our Plastic Packaging Tax eGuide here

Or get in touch with us using the form below and let’s chat about how Acopia can help you make the best sustainable packaging and process choices that are right for your individual business.

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Two things to look at right now to start your journey to carbon neutral

We all often hear a lot of different terms being used to describe organisations moving towards doing greener businesses.  Terms such as net carbon zero, carbon neutral, carbon offsetting – as well as a lot of misinformation on what these terms all mean. It’s not easy to understand what your carbon goal could or should be or how to start your journey.  We take a look at what some of these terms mean and how you can make immediate changes within your business to make a difference from Day 1.

What does carbon footprint mean?

This is the calculation of an individual’s, a company’s or even a country’s carbon dioxide emissions. This is essentially a meaningful way to understand your environmental impact. It’s your first step on your journey to finding out what your emissions are and then implementing a program of reduction. As we say, to measure is to know!

What is Net Carbon Zero?

Net Zero refers to the complete elimination of carbon production. In simple terms, it means that the processes and activities taking place in a business generates net-zero carbon emissions. Sometimes companies, even countries, will publish and commit to a date to achieve this. The UK, for example,  has set a pledge to achieve net-zero by 2050. In fact it was set in law, with a milestone of a 78% reduction by 2035. 

What is Carbon Neutral?

Where business activities do create carbon emissions, a carbon-neutral approach can be adopted. This is sometimes described as Offsetting. So a company would measure it’s carbon footprint and use this calculation to remove the same amount of carbon from the atmosphere.

What is Climate Positive?

While carbon zero is an incredible goal to achieve, many seek to do more. Climate Positive, or sometimes referred to as Carbon Negative, is the focus on the removal of more carbon than is being produced. So this goes beyond Offsetting.

The 2 areas where can you start to make a difference today

If you’re a retailer there are 2 things that you can have an influence on right away – your packaging and how you use transport.

How the right packaging can help get you to carbon neutral

Packaging has become a big issue and sometimes a concern for consumers. Large eCommerce companies are often ‘called out’ by consumers who receive their online orders in wasteful packaging. Using your packaging efficiently not only cuts costs on the boxes themselves but if you’re posting your items – you’ll be charged more for those oversize boxes! And that’s not even thinking about damage to your brand reputation if something like this (below) happens. You will be seen as wasteful, not caring about your environmental impact and likely end up a ‘star’ on YouTube and social media for all the wrong reasons! You can see the full story about this unfortunate Amazon delivery and packaging fail here.

How the wrong packaging can disrupt your journey to carbon neutral

How the wrong packaging can disrupt your journey to carbon neutral

But getting good with packaging choice is much more than just cardboard box size – do you know its provenance? By that we mean:

Do you know where it was manufactured?

How many miles has it travelled to get to your facility?

Does it have FSC accreditations?

What percentage of recycled content does it have?

Can it be recycled by your customer? 

 

Will your customers be delighted with your packaging?

Will your customers be delighted with your packaging?

Having a better understanding of these criteria and challenging those weaker areas will all contribute to a better carbon footprint. An FSC accreditation, for example, is really something to shout about and something more consumers are looking out for. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 67% of those asked recognised the FSC logo and 75% stated that it was important for the packaging of the products they buy to be responsibly sourced. 

We’re proud that our eco-friendly e-commerce packaging range NEST is all responsibly sourced – all from the UK or Europe, many with FSC accreditations. You can find out more about the importance of FSC here. Every single product in the NEST range is 100% recyclable and many are manufactured with 100% recycled materials. We know the importance that customers place on recyclable packaging with over 88% of UK shoppers demanding on-pack information that highlights how environmentally friendly it is – or isn’t!

All this was factored into our thinking when launching a dedicated eCommerce packaging range and you can find out more about NEST here.

How clever use of transport can help get you to carbon neutral

Eliminating or reducing wasted miles has a hugely beneficial impact on your carbon footprint and getting smarter with how your operation or network uses transport is a very quick way to going greener faster. Think about the journeys your products take from sourcing to final delivery, the double handling they may go through and the travel infrastructure needed behind these processes.

Today, we see a definite trend in the move away from suppliers from the Far East and Asia. Companies who found prices attractive and could wait a reasonably long time for transport were forced to re-look at their supply chains once Covid started. Left high and dry and with escalating prices on top of that, this no longer became a reliable service for many. Throw in the environmental impact of products travelling thousands of mile makes sourcing closer to home now seems much more attractive.

Become carbon neutral with single source supply

Become carbon neutral with a single-source supply

If your business is a multi-branch operation, how can you optimise the process of sending your everyday consumables to your entire network? There is huge scope for getting smart with this area of your operation. Working with a single-source supplier is a really clever way to reduce your transport burden. This approach can also alleviate storage challenges you may have on-site, leaving more room in your warehouse for your profitable products. A single-source supplier can coordinate all your store deliveries effectively and efficiently – have it when you need it and in as few deliveries as possible.

The first steps

Without a doubt, packaging and transport changes will deliver quick green wins. To be able to demonstrate how your business is actively working to reduce its impact is something that is no longer nice to have. Having a Corporate Social Responsibility policy in place is something all end-user of your products will look for and your partners and staff will expect. There has never been a better time to start this process, document and showcase your carbon savings and take your first step to reduce your carbon footprint.

Need help getting started with this? Why not get in touch for free help and advice, drop us a message below.

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There is so much confusion in industry and with consumers alike around the issues of plastics and which solutions provide real benefits to the environment. What are the different industry processes that make ‘greener’ products and are these processes in themselves doing more harm than good? A plastic bag that is bio-degradable sounds like it would be a positive thing for the planet – but in truth, is it? We take a look at some of the myths around eco-friendly products and find out what’s actually good for the environment.

Bio-degradable and what it leaves behind

The idea behind its origins is born out of great intentions. Who wouldn’t want to claim a waste or by product can be completely decomposed by bacteria or living organisms to avoid pollution? This may well be the false impression that some consumers are basing their buying choices on.  The truth is plastic can not bio-degrade in this way. It does break down, that is completely true – but what remains is devastating not only for the environment, but for our own heath too. When plastic breaks down like this, it leaves behind harmful micro-particles that find their way into water ways, the sea, the food we eat and the air we breathe. It is estimated that we eat 50,000 particles of micro-plastics a year and breathe in a similar quantity.* To put it into some kind of context – it is estimated we are consuming a credit card size amount of plastic every week. 75% of the plastic we have produced still exists. There has to a better way.

Is compostable the answer?

Compostable bag

Compostable bag

This is a product made from potato or corn starch and will breakdown entirely. The difference is that compostable bags and compostable plastic alternatives can be added to home composting and this will decompose as it is made from organic matter. In fact, it becomes a nutrient rich compost. So this sounds like amazing news, but here are some negatives. Not all items that are ‘compostable’ can be thrown on the home compost heap. Many can only be processed at an industrial facility – how many consumers realise this or have access to one? Brands need to be really clear about what they are claiming. If a consumer feels hoodwinked into thinking they are playing their part in reducing plastic safely, they will be unforgiving if this turns out not to be the case.

More consumers are starting to take the time to understand the differences in what these terms actually mean and are demanding more from manufactures, brands and local facilities. If you’re feeling the inevitable pressure in looking to change to respected eco alternatives, we can help you make informed decisions about the materials and plastics you use.

 

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* Health effects of ingesting microplastics – The Guardian