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22.09.2023
Latest News Wrap-Up / 22.09.2023

Packaging tax rakes in extra £millions

In our latest Wrap-Up … Packaging tax rakes in extra £millions, how you should comply with EPR, “Not for EU” labels hit the shelves, tracking system for food items, retailers missing sustainable milestones, cleaning up greenwashing, paper “produces the most waste”. And more …

FOR STARTERS …

Packaging tax rakes in extra £millions

The UK government collected more than £270 million from the plastic packaging tax (PPT) during its first year, official figures show.

It was £41m more than the Treasury predicted after forecasting receipts from an estimated 20,000 manufacturers and importers.

The tax was introduced in April 2022 as a £200 per tonne levy placed on plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content.

Of the total plastic packaging declared, 52% was manufactured in the UK, and 48% was imported into the UK.

MEANWHILE …

How you should comply with EPR

A guide to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) has been released by sustainable waste management company Biffa.

The guide is intended to help UK businesses meet the EPR obligations that hold producers responsible for collecting, sorting, recycling, or disposing of their product packaging.

They must report their data from this year, and EPR fees will be introduced from October 2025. Those with an annual turnover below £1 million and handling less than 25 tonnes of packaging are exempt.

Why you should comply with EPR

Social enterprise Plastic Bank has published its Top 9 reasons why EPR law should be taken seriously. The reasons range from environmental impact reduction to economic benefits and savings to reducing plastic pollution.

INDUSTRY UPDATE …

EU turn on labelling

The first “not for EU” labels have appeared on own-brand food products sold at Asda in Northern Ireland as part of the framework deal that updated the region’s post-Brexit arrangements.

From the start of October, businesses will be required to use the labels on all meat and some dairy products moved to Northern Ireland, while this scheme will be rolled out to the rest of the UK by July 2025.

The labels are designed to ensure these goods are not moved onwards into the EU, for example, to the Republic of Ireland.

Getting smart with packaging

A water-based conductive ink tailored for producing flexible electronic circuits has been developed by researchers in the US.

Recyclable smart packages with integrated sensors for monitoring the safe storage of perishable foods are among the possible uses.

On the right track

A tracking system traditionally used for non-perishables could become more common on certain food items in the US.

The product packaging would feature stickers with radio-frequency identification (RFID) and provide insights, including a product’s journey from manufacturer to storefront.

BRAND WATCH …

Sticking to savings

Walkers are to trial new multipack packaging for Snack A Jacks that uses 86% less plastic on the outer packaging. The new design will be rolled out in Tesco stores and is made from a tape-like strip which holds together five individual packets.

Snapping up award

The Heinz Snap Pot has received a Gold Award at the Environmental Packaging Awards. The pot contains 39% ISCC PLUS-certified recycled plastic on a mass balance basis.

SHOP TALK …

Veg is breaking loose

Aldi is trialling more of its fruit and veg items as loose produce rather than in bags to reduce plastic waste. The trial across select stores will include garlic, limes, lemons, and oranges.

Backlash from consumers

The major supermarkets have introduced a range of sustainability initiatives. But not all have gone down well with consumers.

Grocery Gazette has examined four sustainable packaging changes that received the biggest backlash, including vacuum-packed beef mince and plant-based, compostable tea bags.

RECYCLING INTEREST …

Rap for UK wrappings

Packaging of popular products is less recyclable in the UK compared with other countries, the consumer group Which? has revealed.

The UK ranked fifth out of nine countries examined, with 32% of packaging tested not being easily recyclable. Australia was third with 14%.

Of the products tested, the worst offenders in the UK were KitKat Four Fingers and 125g packets of peanut M&Ms, whose wrappings were not recyclable.

Doubling up capacity

Plans to develop a new £45m plastic recycling plant in Wales have been announced. Waste plastic recycling firm Jayplas is opening the new advanced facility in Swansea on the back of £12m in non-repayable capital financing from the Welsh government.

The new plant will be capable of processing over 100,000 tonnes of flexible and rigid plastics a year, more than doubling Wales’ plastic recycling capacity.

SUSTAINABLE TOPICS ...

Missing the milestones

Retailers and brands are unlikely to meet reuse milestones set out by the UK Plastics Pact, according to a report from WRAP. General issues that were identified include:

  • Limited access for consumers to purchase reusable packaging.
  • Limited visibility of successful reusable packaging systems for businesses.
  • Regulatory settings that can discourage reusable packaging system development and adoption.

The Plastics Pact was launched in 2018 and has more than 120 members, including major manufacturers and retailers.

Cleaning up greenwashing in EU

A new green EU directive could bring an end to greenwashing claims. If passed, the law will ban generic claims - from “environmentally friendly” and “eco” to “natural” and “biodegradable” - from being made without evidence.

The Green Claims directive will require brands to verify their products’ merits through third-party certification schemes.

A 2020 study found that 53% of green claims were vague, misleading or unfounded, with 40% entirely unsubstantiated.

Cleaning up greenwashing in OZ

Draft guidance on greenwashing has been provided by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The guidance follows research that indicated roughly 57% of Australian companies made “concerning” - vague or unclear - environmental or sustainability claims.

The Draft Greenwashing Guidance identifies eight key principles, including:

  • Accurate and truthful claims.
  • Evidence.
  • Clear and easily comprehensible language.

The ACCC expects that the final guidance, once approved, will be updated periodically.

Consumers struggle to identify packaging

Consumers want more sustainable packaging but struggle to identify it, according to a new Global Paper & Packaging Report.

For instance, when asked whether single-use plastic or single-use glass packaging had a lower carbon footprint, 75% of respondents did not know or chose glass. Only 12% correctly answered it was plastic.

Consumers prefer to have less packaging

More than 25% of UK online shoppers would stop ordering from a company if their product arrived in too much unnecessary packaging, according to new research by DS Smith. The research also found that 22% of respondents would avoid a brand if its packaging was difficult to recycle or not recyclable.

Paper haste makes waste

Paper-based food packaging is the largest source of packaging waste in the EU, according to a new report.

The report also reveals that, while paper-based food packaging is marketed as a sustainable alternative to plastics, it is usually combined with plastics or other chemical coatings, rarely includes recycled content, and drives global deforestation and industrial water consumption.

What a load of lockdown rubbish

Plastic waste soared during lockdown as British households threw away 25% more food packaging, parcel bags and PPE, a survey has revealed. Food and drink products accounted for 68% of the waste.

£1m hook for seafood

A Norfolk business has been given nearly £1million to help it develop new products to transport seafood safely around the world.

IN TRAY SEALING …

Flexible tech

Harpak-ULMA, a smart, connected packaging solutions provider, has announced the availability of a new tray sealing technology developed by G. Mondini called “Mondini Trave Sinfonia”.

It has been designed to help snack and meal manufacturers boost their packaging throughput in a smaller and more flexible footprint, with comparatively reduced labour needs.

Entry-level tech

Proseal has launched its new XTRs entry-level heat-sealing machine. It is an all-new semi-automatic, two-station rotary table capable of sealing 30 packs per minute with a two-impression tool without the need for compressed air.

Ground-breaking tech

Packaging Automation has put the spotlight on its ground-breaking Syncroflex technology. Its benefits include pack stability, reduced conveyor wear, increased speed, and reduced product loss and tray damage.

Chicken tech

G. Mondini has published a video highlighting how its innovations in package design, flexibility, productivity, and pack security are ideally suited for the poultry market.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY …

From the KM team … protecting, presenting, and preserving your products.

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