Fashion retailer praised for ‘proactive’ plastic tax work

PACKAGING data services provider Ecoveritas has praised Boohoo Group’s ‘proactive’ work in ensuring suppliers are aligned to comply with the Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT).

The fashion brand recently revealed that HMRC had charged for some poly bags and does not have the certificate to confirm the recycled content.

Since the introduction of the PPT, any plastics manufactured in or imported into the UK will be subject to the tax unless evidence shows the plastics contain at least 30% certified recycled material.

Boohoo has covered the cost of any HMRC charge so far but plans on transitioning that responsibility ‘in the near future’. The retailer sourced a nominated supplier that produces 100% certified recycled material and recyclable packaging. It also extended an option of continuing to use independent suppliers, as long as they could certify that the poly bags they use were at least 50% recycled material, made from LDPE (low-density polyethylene) only and several other standards.

“It’s heartening to see the proactive steps Boohoo Group are taking regarding PPT,” said Kathy Illingworth, head of sustainability consulting. “Their openness and transparency are what we all want to see. However, imported plastic packaging such as hangers, tags, and secondary overbags will also likely present headaches.

“Whether your priority is to reduce the plastic in packaging, increase the recycled content, or even figure out where to start with plastic packaging, it all begins with opening a dialogue with suppliers. This catalyst sets everything else in motion, from conveying accurate information about degradability and recyclability to tackling waste, increasing recycled content, and collaborating on solutions to reduce plastic use.

“Suppliers must be consistently held accountable for providing accurate and up-to-date packaging composition data and fulfilling commitments they have made to reach specific packaging goals. Only then can brands and retailers make substantial, evidence-backed claims about packaging and be ready to face the UK plastic tax.

“As brands grapple with the new tax, there is still room for improvement. By stipulating that they want 50% recycled content in the bags, it might be cheaper to pay the tax. Whether their global supplier can supply enough recycled content at a lower cost than the £200 tax also raises questions to which Boohoo hopefully have the answers.

“Offering suppliers education and support to understand the rules is another step we see as needed from these big household bands. Complexities around scoping, who pays, and what evidence is acceptable appear to be the main drivers behind PPT’s stuttering start and an initial registration rate that amounted to less than 5% of the anticipated number. By limiting certification schemes to just two, Boohoo might also hinder progress in the long term, particularly as they broaden their focus to other obligated plastics.”

Ecoveritas said collating and submitting data to ensure your business complies with regulations can be a ‘daunting and complex’ task. The firm added that its Ecoview platform makes transparency and compliance a ‘much simpler’ task. The system brings online analysis, audit and reporting technologies together in one place.