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.
The Government has announced a ban from October 2023 of the use of single-use plastic items such as plastic cutlery, plates and polystyrene trays in England. From October 1, people will not be able to buy these products from any business – this includes retailers, takeaways, food vendors and the hospitality industry.
The ban applies to:
• Plastic plates, trays, bowls
The ban on the supply of single-use plastic plates, trays and bowls will not apply to plates, trays and bowls that are used as packaging, in shelf ready pre-packed food such as bowls and platters in a frozen meal. Plastic plates, bowls, and trays that are used as packaging can be used in eat-in and takeaway settings.
The ban on the supply of plastic bowls and trays that are not packaging will be a ban on supply to the end user. This will allow businesses to purchase empty plates, bowls, and trays to use only as packaging for food; however, individuals will not be able to purchase these items.
• Plastic cutlery
This will include single-use plastic knives, forks, spoons and chopsticks made of plastic, in- cluding standard size or mini-size cutlery or a combination of cutlery, such as sporks.
Expanded and extruded polystyrene beverage containers, including cups
The ban will apply to all businesses but not to packaging in shelf-ready pre-packaged food items. Failure to comply with the ban will lead to a civil sanction, repeated breaches may result in authori- ties prosecuting for a criminal offence, subject to a fine.
Deposit Return Scheme – England, Wales, NI
The Government has announced details of a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Implementation has been delayed until October 2025 to allow businesses more time to prepare. However, the scheme in Wales will include glass bottles, which are excluded in England and NI. DRS in Scotland (including glass) goes live in August this year.
VAT: Defra will continue consulting key stakeholders across Government on the application of VAT on deposits.
DMO will be appointed as soon as is feasible after the regulations have entered into force.
Labelling: a mark to identify the product as part of DRS and the use of an identification marker such as a barcode or QR code to enable return will be mandated.
Interoperability: Glass bottles will only be returnable in Wales. Defra will encourage the DMO to work with the Scottish scheme to explore interoperability and reciprocal arrangements between schemes.
Government will set a 90% collection target in the regulations, to be achieved within three years of the first reporting year of the scheme, and every year thereafter.
The collection target will be phased in at 70% in year 1, 80% year 2, and 90% year 3 onwards. Collection targets will also be placed on producers. This obligation will be passed on to the DMO when the producer registers with the DMO, and the DMO will then fulfil the obligation on the pro- ducer’s behalf.
Collection targets will be required to be met separately in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Financial flows and producer registration fees:
DRS will be funded by a combination of revenue from the material it collects and sells, producer registration fees and unredeemed deposits.
The Welsh Government is currently funding research into this topic.
England, Wales and Northern Ireland will, through the DMO appointment process, look to under- stand more from applicants about how a digital system could be implemented or tested further as part of the eventual roll out of the scheme
Webinar recordings to explain the EPR requirements from 1 January 2023 can be found here:
The Government has regulated for data collection and reporting for phase one of Extended Produc- er Responsibility. These regulations come into effect on January 1, 2023 and apply in England and Wales only.
The Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) was introduced on April 1, 2022. If you manufacture or import 10 or more tonnes of plastic packaging within a 12 month period you must register for PPT on GOV.UK even if your packaging contains 30% or more recycled plastic.
After receiving information from businesses about the way that reusable plastic crates are used, HMRC has determined that reusable plastic crates fall within the definition of transport packaging and are therefore exempt from Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) when imported filled with goods into the UK. This exemption will also apply to pallet wrap and straps when used to import goods. All packaging imported unfilled into the UK is still subject to PPT.