77% of businesses unaware of plastic packaging tax


OVER three quarters (77%) of UK businesses are unaware of the impending plastic packaging tax, Veolia has reported.

The French-headquartered utility and service firm commissioned YouGov to undertake a survey on the views of British-based senior decision makers across retail and manufacturing businesses on the incoming tax.

Set to come into force tomorrow (April 1), the tax places a £200 per tonne levy on producers or importers of plastic packaging should they not include at least 30% recycled content.

Only a fifth (22%) of the manufacturing retailer businesses surveyed reported having already opted for recycled content in their packaging. A further 63% said they would support an escalator in percentage of recycled content threshold, and half (50%) would support a cost charge as an incentive to use recycled content.

However, of the UK retail and manufacturing firms who have already made changes to their plastic packaging, 66% have reduced the amount of unnecessary or avoidable plastic packaging; 58% use recycled content; 54% have changed the packaging design to make it more recyclable; and 39% have chosen alternative materials to plastic for their packaging.

Gavin Graveson, senior executive vice president of Veolia Northern Europe, commented, “The UK’s Plastic Packaging Tax is the right way to start getting businesses to push sustainability up the agenda, but it needs to go further. A tax escalator would make choosing to incorporate recycled content in packaging both economically and environmentally preferable to using virgin materials.

“Not only could the UK save up to 2.89 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year if all plastic packaging included 30% recycled content, it would also incentivise investment in domestic infrastructure which could make the UK a world leader in plastics recycling.”