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Latest News Wrap-Up / 17.07.2023

Packaging tax reform proposed

In our latest Wrap-Up … Packaging tax reform proposed. Flexible material prices ease. Packaging markets showing growth. Retailers in packaging lifecycle project. Updated Design for Recycling Guidelines. And more …



The UK government has proposed a reform of the Plastic Packaging Tax to support chemical recycling innovations.

The proposed reform will use a “mass balance” approach to calculate the percentage of chemically recycled content included in plastic packaging, which verifies a set portion of recycled content overall by a third-party certificate.

The tax, introduced in April 2022, applies at a rate of £210.82 per tonne to plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content, covering packaging imported or manufactured in the UK.

We previously explored “The challenges of PCR in lidding film for high temperatures” and the role of chemical recycling.

Also the British Plastics Foundation (BPF) has published an online hub focused on chemical recycling.

It includes graphics, flow and process charts and other aids to understanding the issues and technology.


Packaging markets have shown a “steady recovery” in the first quarter of 2023, according to data published by the Environment Agency. And some compliance specialists are saying that packaging recovery note (PRN) prices have begun to fall.


Flexible packaging material prices have eased from recent highs, as revealed by the latest European Substrate Price Index from Flexible Packaging Europe (FPI). However, they remain well above 2020 levels.


Is paper better for the Earth than plastic? That’s the question explored by David Burrows in The Grocer.

In the article, David writes: “Every story needs a hero and a villain. In the narrative around packaging, plastic is cast as the bad guy. And paper, almost by default, has become the goodie.”

The full story and answer to the question is complicated, not least due to concerns about deforestation and the recyclability of the barriers and coatings used in paper-based packaging.


An industry-led Open Data Standard for packaging, developed initially to support efficient and consistent data capture on plastic packaging, has now been expanded to cover all common packaging materials.

A consortium of industry partners has collaboratively developed the Open 3P Data Standard. It provides a framework and a “common language” to allow the packaging supply chain and its customers to share compatible packaging data easily, quickly, and cost-effectively.

The consortium of partners includes OPRL and Recoup and funding is being provided by the UK Research & Innovation’s Smart Sustainable Plastics Packaging Challenge.


  • Data-driven: Aldi, Co-op, and Ocado Retail are participating in a project to gain never-before-seen packaging lifecycle data. By using special UV tags on selected products, the retailers can access real-time data insights, such as where, when and how much packaging has been recycled.
  • Rolling out paper: M&S has rolled out new recyclable packaging ­– a paper-based bag and paper box – across its rice, grains and pulses range.
  • Mincing matters: Lidl and Co-op have announced they will start vac-packing mince to use less plastic and increase the product’s shelf life. Sainsbury's previously did the same, and some shoppers complained it turned the meat to mush.
  • Purging plastic: Sainsbury’s is removing plastic trays from its “By Sainsbury’s” own-brand steak range to save 249 tonnes of plastic annually. The trays will be replaced with a cardboard alternative which uses 70% less plastic.
  • Learning with the 4Rs: Tesco has removed more than two billion pieces of plastic from its UK business since the launch of its 4Rs – Remove, Reduce, Re-use, Recycle – packaging strategy in 2019.

    The retailer has also said the grocery market as moving from “inflation to deflation”, including a 22% drop in the cost of plastic PET packaging.
  • Baby steps: New on the shelves, Ella’s Kitchen has launched its first mono-material pouch and aims to ensure that 73% of its baby food pouches will be fully recyclable at the kerbside by the end of 2024.


  • Paper on Mars: The wrapping of Mars Bars in recyclable paper packaging is being trialled across 500 Tesco stores.
  • Bagless trial: Walkers is trialling new “bagless” packaging for its Snack A Jacks range. A tape-like strip is being used to hold together five individual packets, resulting in an 86% reduction in plastic.
  • Snapping up award: The development of Heinz Beanz Snap Pots made with 39% recycled plastic has been recognised with a Silver Award in the global Packaging Innovation Awards.
  • Pot shots: Unilever’s Pot Noodle instant noodle brand is trialling a new, FSC-certified paper pot in a bid to cut down on 4000 tonnes of virgin plastic every year.
  • Using their loaf: Warburtons is saving 172 tonnes of plastic annually thanks to down-gauging the PE bags used for its loaves. The company’s head of packaging, Lucy Shepherd, has been talking to FlexoTech.


  • Happy anniversary: Packaging Automation has been commemorating its 60th anniversary. The company has looked back on its history in the ever-evolving packaging industry and has looked ahead with a commitment to push the boundaries of innovation.
  • Happy anniversary, too: Proseal will be celebrating its 25th anniversary with an open day at its global headquarters in Cheshire, on September 14th, 2023. This event promises to showcase the latest technological advancements and creative solutions in the packaging industry.
  • Quality innovation: G. Mondini has been showcasing The Neural – an innovation in quality control. Its deep learning algorithms ensure fast, accurate and reliable inspections in full compliance with skin pack standards.


Updated design guidelines

Updated Design for Recycling Guidelines from RecyClass now cover all plastic packaging streams, hoping to guide the industry towards enhanced recyclability and harmonise plastic packaging recycling on a global scale.

Green light for supermarkets

The major supermarkets in Australia have been granted conditional authorisation to continue their collaboration to manage the soft plastics stockpile and resume in-store collections after REDcycle suspended its recycling operations.

Plastic bags ban

New Zealand has implemented a ban on thin plastic bags for fresh produce in supermarkets, along with produce labels, single-use straws and cutlery.

Innovation bears fruit

Thermoforming packaging specialist Waddington Europe has launched mono-material soft-fruit punnets to the UK market that it says are easier to recycle and use less plastic than conventional punnets.

Wishing away waste

The UK government is looking to crack down on “wish-cycling” – which sees well-intentioned people over-recycling and contaminating the process.

New rules will see households being asked to be more selective in what they place in their recycling bins. For example, items that should not be added to the recycling bin include:

  • Crisp packets
  • Dirty takeaway boxes
  • Wet cardboard
  • Pill trays with foil
  • Shredded paper

Recycling – there’s an app for that

A collaboration between Valpak and the Bower recycling rewards app is hoped to drive recycling and brand benefits.

The award-winning Bower app educates and rewards consumers for recycling packaging items while helping brands reach sustainability goals.

When consumers scan items, they receive instructions on how to recycle and the option to redeem a range of rewards.

Zero tolerance

A Zero Waste Bag – a first-of-its-kind solution for consumers to recycle “hard to recycle” rubbish – has been launched by TerraCycle.

The bag is designed to offer consumers a simple and convenient way to recycle 14 common waste streams not collected in council kerbside recycling collections, including all plastic packaging, crisp packets, snack wrappers, and food pouches.

People’s choice

A study has shown that recyclability is now a must-have in the eyes of consumers.

The study – based on responses from more than 3000 consumers in the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, and Poland – also shows that most (84%) European consumers actively seek recycling instructions on packaged products. In addition, 60% say recyclability instructions and sustainability logos positively influence their purchase decision.

Tool for the trade

A sustainability tool to help companies reduce their plastic footprint has been launched by Oceanworks, a global marketplace for recycled plastic materials and products.

The Plastic Action Dashboard offers access to orders, metrics, marketing, and compliance information.

Facility in the red

Yes Recycling, the company which operates a soft plastic recycling facility in Scotland in partnership with Morrisons, has entered into administration.


Closing the loop

Tesco, Marks & Spencer, and WWF are among the  first names to be unveiled as Compostable Coalition UK advisory board members. They will support the UK Research & Innovation funded “Closing the Loop for Compostable Packaging” research project.

The project examines the practicality of effectively collecting, sorting, and recycling compostable packaging via the UK’s existing collection and treatment streams.


  • Water revolution: Water-soluble packaging is poised to revolutionise the packaging industry by addressing environmental concerns and offering unparalleled convenience, according to a new report. The packaging is designed to break down into harmless components when exposed to water or moisture.


  • Fines for green lies: Firms using unsubstantiated environmental claims to market their products could face financial penalties under new EU rules.
  • Oven use cools: People increasingly cook with their microwaves to save money as food prices soar, research suggests. Kantar found 4% fewer meals were made using an oven in the 12 weeks to 11 June versus the same period last year, while microwaved meals rose 8%.
  • Plastics cull: The UN says the production of plastics could be cut by a massive 80% by 2040. This follows the world’s governments agreeing to draft a new treaty to control plastics.

Date for your Diary

  • FoodPro
    Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
    23-26 July
    It’s a great opportunity to connect with Tammy Spencer, our Business Unit Manager (ANZ).

From the KM team … stay safe, keep up the good work, and value plastic.

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