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.
Defra has launched a consultation on delivering a consistent approach to waste collection and recycling from business premises. The Environment Bill includes measures for businesses to arrange for the collection of glass, metal, plastic, paper and card and food waste for recycling or composting. The consultation is seeking views on which materials should be in scope and the introduction of a micro-business exemption (less than 10 FTE employees) or a phased introduction of micro-business waste collections.
Guidance and further information to help businesses prepare for the new Plastic Packaging Tax has been published. The tax aims to encourage the use of recycled plastic and reduce production of new plastic. All businesses that manufacture or import plastic packaging must be aware of the new regulations and wholesalers manufacturing or importing 10 or more tonnes of plastic packaging over a 12-month period will need to register for the tax. Per metric tonne of plastic packaging, the rate of tax will be set at £200 and applies to any packaging that contains less than 30% recycled plastic. More guidance on the Plastic Packaging Tax is to be published later this year in advance of the introduction of the tax in April 2022.
The Government has launched a consultation on the introduction of Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging so that producers pay the full costs of dealing with the waste they place on the market, replac- ing the shared cost compliance system that has been in place for the last 25 years (raw material; converter, packer/filler; and seller). Targets up to 2030 will be set for six materials: aluminium, glass, paper/board, plastics, steel, and wood. The new scheme is due to go live in 2023.
Currently, companies with a turnover under £2million and an annual packaging turnover of under 50 tonnes are not required to be an obligated producer. The Government has three options under consider- ation to capture this volume:
Option 1: Lowering the de-minimis threshold to £1m and 25 tonnes.
Option 2: Obligating wholesalers for unfilled packaging sold to businesses below the existing or a reduced de minimis threshold, which would result in “a small increase in obligated producers, primarily wholesalers”
Option 3: Obligating manufacturers and importers of unfilled packaging sold to businesses below the existing or a reduced de minimis threshold. The consultation says “no new obligations would be placed on wholesalers”
The Government is proposing Option 3, which would mean no new obligation for wholesale. FWD has consistently campaigned for no new obligation for wholesale, and successfully stopped its introduction in 2014, and will be lobbying for Option 3 in line with the proposal, in order to maintain the wholesaler exemption. The consultation runs until June 4.
A consultation has been launched on the operational details of a Deposit Return Scheme for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, for PET plastic bottles, glass bottles, and steel and aluminium cans.
Two options are consulted on: an ‘all-in’ system that includes containers up to 3 litres in size; and an ‘on- the-go’ system that excludes containers over 750ml, as well as containers that are part of multipacks. The Government expects the scheme will go live in late 2024 at the earliest. FWD will responding to the consultation, which closes on June 4.
Primary legislation for the Plastic Packaging Tax has been published. The tax will take effect from 1 April 2022 at a rate of £200 per tonne tax rate for packaging with less than 30% recycled plastic, with a regis- tration threshold of 10 tonnes of plastic packaging manufactured in or imported into the UK per annum. Registration applies to all businesses above the threshold, regardless of whether their packaging contains less than 30% recycled plastic. Imported plastic packaging will be liable to the tax, whether the packaging is unfilled or filled.
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: