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Business needs to get to grip with new packaging legislation

Tue 20 Jul 2021 | 06:44 am GMT
Michelle Urquhart | Products of Change Writer

Packaging panel with (clockwise from top left) Helena Mansell-Stopher, James George, Stuart Foster and Mike Swain

New packaging rules coming into force in April 2022 will mean that packaging producers will pay the full cost of managing packaging once it becomes waste. A panel discussion at the Sustainability in Licensing Conference with James George - Network Development Lead, The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Mike Swain - Director, Pack IDS and Stuart Foster - CEO, Recoup discussed the latest legislative changes both in the UK and Europe that will impact on the consumer goods sector. The panel focused on the latest packaging and EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) scheme. All three panellists agreed that the new legislation and EPR was complex and complicated and so different to the current scheme, but as Mike Swain pointed out: “companies must come to grips with this,” with James George adding: “businesses need to get a hold of this and move ahead because just meeting the bare minimum will mean you’ll always be playing catch-up.” There are a number of reforms due in April 2022, including the Plastic Packaging Tax, which is a UK-wide tax of £200 per tonne tax rate for plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content. “The current set of policy and legislation proposals have potentially significant implications for all businesses involved,” said Stuart Foster. “But it also represents a once in a generation opportunity to deliver change and accelerate the move towards plastic circularity and resource efficiency.” The reporting and documentation needed for the new EPR scheme will be one of the biggest challenges according to Mike Swain. “It’s going to be a challenge to many businesses to understand and document what the have and how they can do better. It’s so different to the PRN (Packaging Recovery Note) system we currently have which is out-dated and puts the onus on the supplier. The EPR puts the responsibility on your business. But, if we embrace it there is a opportunity to make really significant changes.” James George encouraged businesses to take a look at the wider picture and move upstream, coming back to the design process, so not creating waste in the first place. “Recycling is important, but we’ll never recycle our way out of the problem. We need to move upstream to change infrastructure and keep materials out of the waste stream in the first instance.” Did you miss the presentation at SILC21? You can catch up with SILC on-demand to see the whole packaging discussion as well as all the presentations from the two-day conference held over 24-25 June 2021. Didn’t have ticket to the conference? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered too. You can buy still buy tickets to access all the content on-demand.
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