Plastic Packaging Tax comes into force on 1 April 2022

Ian Smith, group sales director at PFF Group

The Plastic Packaging Tax comes into force on 1 April 2022 and will be charged at a rate of £200 per tonne. The tax only applies to plastic packaging components that contain less than 30 per cent recycled plastic.

Independent food packaging specialist PFF Group says the tax is an incentive to encourage higher levels of recycling by manufacturers as the UK strives to be more sustainable in its use of plastic.

PFF Group’s sales director Ian Smith said: “The key objective of the tax is to encourage more recycling by manufacturers as we try to move to a more circular economy. It’s a challenge we recognise and relish.

“We have put ourselves in a strong position to be ready for the tax. Investment in machinery means we are set up to recover our waste which can be re-used in our processes and enables us to help our clients stay exempt from the tax.

“None of our thermoformed products contain less than 30 per cent recycled plastic, making them exempt from the tax. However, we are constantly innovating to use less plastic and energy in what we produce. That has been our ethos for a long time – innovation, sustainability and creativity.”

PFF’s novel approach is demonstrated in the recent launch of its new IMPAC-T product – a fully recyclable packaging product suitable for all food applications.

IMPAC-T uses less plastic than equivalent PET packaging and can be typically used for dairy products such as yoghurt as well as an array of other produce.

New process technology enables less plastic to be used in the product and increased use of post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials. This optimises the resources used and provides packaging that is easy to recycle.

IMPAC-T uses a minimum of 50 per cent PCR PET and up to 100 per cent PCR card with any virgin board content sourced from certified sustainable forestry. The plastic and card can be easily separated and both components can be reprocessed back into packaging, making IMPAC-T fully recyclable.

In addition, the forming of the IMPAC-T pack is a far more efficient process than traditional card-wrap processes, therefore, further reducing PFF’s carbon footprint.

Ian said: “Our clients are acutely aware of the consumer insight into plastic and they are keen to drive the agenda as well. Sustainable production is about energy usage in total, not just whether something is simply plastic or card, and the consumption of energy in any manufacturing process is always key to us.”

In time, Ian believes the government will increase the plastic packaging tax thresholds to incentivise components that contain greater levels of recycled plastic as the drive continues to improve circularity within manufacturing. “The tax is about making people more accountable to bring the goal of recycling and circularity much closer,” he says.

 

The proposed introduction of an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme is also focussing minds within the packaging industry. Under the scheme, packaging producers will pay the full cost of managing packaging once it becomes waste.

This will encourage producers to use less packaging and use more recyclable materials, reducing the amount of hard to recycle packaging placed on the market, says the government.

Ian said: “The tax and the forthcoming EPR scheme have focussed our attention even more on improving sustainability, recycling everything we can and process-protecting our clients.

“Sustainability is a core company value so we are in a good place to address the challenges within the packaging industry. All our equipment is designed to run high levels of recycled materials, and we are investing in technology and systems – such £200,000 in new transformer technology – to reduce our carbon emissions and support our championing of sustainable packaging solutions.

“We are ready, willing and keen to meet the ultimate challenge of using more post-consumer recycled materials in the products we manufacture.”

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