On 11 March 2020, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that a new plastic packaging tax would see companies paying £200 per tonne for packaging made from less than 30% recycled plastic from April 2022.
The tax was created to drive a reduction in the production of plastic packaging and incentivise the use of recycled materials and was delivered as part of his 2020 Budget.
Plastic-based flexible packaging is a ubiquitous format widely used around the world due to its highly functional nature, barrier performance and low carbon footprint.
It also meets many consumer needs in terms of convenience, which makes it a favoured format with brands and retailers.
Over the last couple of years, compostable packaging has emerged as a go-to sustainable, flexible packaging solution but will now face higher taxes under the proposed new legislation.
Robert Adamson, Parkside Managing Director, said:
“The proposed plastics tax being applied to compostable packaging is harmful as it increases the cost of sustainable materials already at a disadvantage to commonplastic polymers, but importantly it also sends out an extraordinary message to the UK consumer: The British Government is not supporting the environment.”
The tax imposed by the Chancellor, while having good intentions, will have adverse effects for viable, sustainable alternatives to non-recyclable flexible packaging.
The cellulose used in creating Parkside’s range of compostable solutions is technically defined as a plastic.
Still, it will fully decompose within 26 weeks in a home or industrial composter, leaving no harmful materials behind, and is not fossil fuel based, the main concern for proponents of plastics reduction.
Adamson added: “Compostable packaging has fundamentally been developed to create an alternative end of life scenario to landfill for non-recyclable packaging formats.
If the UK is to decarbonise by 2050 it should be supporting the development and implementation of packaging solutions developed by companies like Parkside.
“We are delivering a sound solution to a real-world problem, investing our funds into driving the bio and circular economy forward and yet are now penalised by what can only be described as shallow consideration of the complexity of the packaging industry.”
Parkside is encouraging others in the industry to reach out to the Government during this vital consultation which ends in May 2020.