Food production, storage and distribution have an unavoidable impact on the environment. FWD members seek to minimise this through initiatives that increase the efficiency of the supply chain, from the producer to the consumer.
Initiatives include: route optimisation technology; driver training; low carbon fuels; back hauling and recycling of waste and packaging; reducing packaging; recycling used cooking oil and reducing waste to landfill.
FWD is working closely with Government on its 25 year environment plan and other environmental policy proposals including those around using the tax system to tackle the use of single use plastics and other ways to tackle plastic waste.
Pressure had been growing for the Government to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme, which is intended to cut plastic, glass and metal drinks container waste by incentivizing consumers who return their drinks containers with a small cash sum.
UK Deposit Return Scheme
A consultation is expected to be held early in 2021. Key points to note:
The Government is consulting on the Plastic Packaging Tax, to apply at a rate of £200 per tonne of plastic packaging which does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic, and due to come into operation in April 2022. The tax is designed to incentivise the use of recycled plastic in plastic packaging. The tax will be paid by UK manufacturers and importers of plastic packaging that contains less than 30% recycled plastic. FWD will be responding to the consultation, which ends on August 20.
The Government has published its Environment Bill (with Explanatory Notes) which includes an intention to introduce a plastics tax in April 2022, and for a DRS and PRN scheme to be in place from 2023.
The Bill sets out the Government’s policy on meeting the net-zero target by 2050, requiring producers to take more responsibility for products and materials that they introduce to the market, introducing a consistent approach to recycling and powers to introduce charges for single-use plastic items. FWD is working with the Defra on the wholesaler impacts of the Bill.
In contrast, heavy handed regulation to promote sustainability can be costly and burdensome for wholesalers largely operating as low margin businesses.
For example, if wholesalers no longer had a unique status under Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), a significant increase in costs for the numerous wholesalers who supply the many SMEs around the country would occur. Our forecasting suggests that there would be over a 300% increase in the cost to wholesalers, many of whom are already facing significant financial challenges in the current economic climate. Any increases would be passed onto the consumers we serve in the form of higher prices.
We are calling on the Government to:
January 2020: The Scottish Parliament Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee has published its report on the draft Deposit Return Scheme regulations. The report includes a number of recommendations to the Scottish Government, including: