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There is a growing awareness on the importance of creating a sustainable world. This takes many forms, one of which is to reduce the amount of plastic in our lives and recycle the plastic we do use wherever possible. A popular phrase is the call to ‘eradicate single use plastics’.
The UK is leading the world in committing time-specific goals to reduce plastic waste. Over the last year, there has been a number of consultations about a UK Plastic Packaging tax being introduced to encourage more plastic recycling. On 10th May 2021, the government published its Policy Paper ‘Get your business ready for the Plastic Packaging Tax’. The intention is to “stimulate increased levels of recycling and collection of plastic waste, diverting it away from landfill or incineration”.
This comes with the caveat that packaging should only contain recycled content where it is permitted to do so under other regulations, such as those covering food safety.
The proposed UK plastic packaging tax will take effect from 1 April 2022.
The tax will apply to plastic packaging manufactured in, or imported into, the UK where the plastic used in its manufacture is less than 30% recycled plastic by weight. A tax of £200 will be levied per metric tonne of plastic packaging.
Companies involved in the plastic packaging industry are required to register with the government and provide necessary records of their packaging. This is true even if the packaging manufactured/ imported contains more than 30% recycled plastic.
More information can be found on the government websites:
The mainstream supermarkets, influenced by consumers, are pushing for recyclable packaging. But what does that mean, and how does it tally with the UK plastic tax? Here lies the dilemma …
Is it better to:
Pay a premium to use purely recyclable plastic packaging i.e. plastic packaging that use mono-structures so it can be both mechanically and chemically recycled?
Use a thinner plastic packaging that doesn’t contain recycled waste, but contains a structure that is recycle-ready when the UK opens its chemical recycling plants?
Use packaging containing recycled waste? This could be thicker in future than it is today for the simple fact that currently, plastic next to food must be contamination-free – currently this translates as ‘virgin plastic’ because recycled plastic is not yet widely certified to be ‘pure’.
At Krehalon, we pride ourselves in having proven solutions already available for the first two options listed above and our development team are currently researching the third. Back in 2018, we became an active member of UK Plastics Pact, RECOUP and CEFLEX, the European consortium of flexible packaging companies and associations. All organisations aim to improve the circular economy of plastic packaging – in short, to develop ways to recycle more plastic more often and lessen the dependability on virgin plastic.
Krehalon has reduced material thickness in its packaging without compromising the material’s barrier properties and strength. This significantly reduces the packaging weight. In fact, our main product range is up to 80% lighter than the competition, depending upon application and it is also stronger, meaning less plastic and a longer shelf life – a win-win for everyone involved in the food supply chain.
There is also our automated Shrink Bag Replacement™ solution that reduces packaging waste. This offers more precise material-to-product ratio, allowing pack sizes to be adjusted to the length and size of each product, eliminating unnecessary packaging waste; another example where we already facilitate less plastic consumption.
Our most recent development is our fully recyclable product range, KreCycle™. Developed with recyclability in mind, Krehalon’s KreCycle™ product range are Polyethylene (PE) based materials with EVOH barrier that are suitable for mechanical recycling whilst offering no compromise on shelf life and sealing performance.
The development of these structures is based on CEFLEX Design for a Circular Economy (D4ACE) Guidelines where EVOH barrier in PO-based structures should be no more than 5% of total weight.
Products include flexible thermoforming films, flowrap films including a high barrier option, and vacuum pouches.
Contact our UK Sales team today, to find out which products best suit your requirement and to share your thoughts on determining the future direction for flexible packaging. We look forward to hearing from you.