NEWS AND INSIGHT FROM THE FPA
SANDWICH PACK ‘TAX’ RUMOUR
A Sunday Times article, here, has raised the prospect of an imminent 15p ‘tax’ on sandwich packs. We believe this was based on a leak from the soon to be published Defra Resource and Waste Strategy. This strategy will have a huge impact on packaging. We believe the journalist meant a levy or charge rather than tax as we’ve held many meetings with the Treasury and this has not been mentioned, and indeed the Chancellor announced there would be no tax on cups. The Resource and Waste Strategy will include Extended Producer Responsibility with business accounting most likely for the full cost of collection, sortation and recycling of the packaging they place on the market. Could the sandwich pack comment indicate additional charges for on the go packaging to cover the cost of litter? There seem to be differences between Defra and the Treasury as recorded in our article in Packaging News, carried on Monday.
HERIOT-WATT RESEARCH BACKS CIRCULAR ECONOMY MODEL FOR PLASTICS
Research published by scientists at Heriot-Watt University, carried by the BBC and The Sun indicates that a circular model for recycling and reusing plastic is a better option for the environment than a total ban. The research, led by Professor David Bucknall, from the University’s Institute of Chemical Sciences, says that replacing plastics with other packaging such as glass or metal could double global energy consumption and could lead to a tripling of greenhouse gas emissions. The FPA welcomes this research, which supports the PRN reforms and responsible plastics strategies we have been calling for.
DEFRA ‘KEEP IT BIN IT’ CAMPAIGN
Announced by Defra last Friday, this campaign, which is to be funded by business, focuses on plastic in oceans and the impact this has. While plastics in the ocean is utterly unacceptable, we wonder whether the campaign will influence those littering the most frequently discarded items – cigarette stubs/packs and chewing gum?
BTA CAMPAIGN UPDATE
As Vice Chair of the British Takeaway Campaign, Martin this week attended their quarterly meeting. This is was also attended by the various ethnic restaurant and takeaway organisations, NFFF (fish and chips trade association) and the British Sandwich Association. Key issues covered included Public Health England wishing to reduce calorie content based on calories per 100 grams, to be reflected in labelling, for which a key document is about to be issued by the BTC. Foodservice and retail would have identical targets so obviously there are huge difficulties. Other issues include Transport for London banning ads for on the go food which needs to be countered, and allergen labelling now required on everything which is highly complex. But perhaps most important is the issue of migration, with the sector facing huge chef shortages – a brake on future growth. The BTC believes the longer-term viability of independent foodservice operators is critical and will lobby the Government to this effect.
Without these types of independents our market would shrink, so all issues affecting their viability affect us.
The Times Ben Webster ran an article last Friday about the efforts at the Foreign Office to increase the use of reusables, claiming this proved Philip Hammond wrong in his assessment that a latte levy would not be effective. This is misleading as the Foreign office premises involved are all closed loop environments – ideal for both reusables and the recovery on site of paper cups for recycling. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy has announced a £60m fund for bioplastics research. The funding will be offered to research, and development projects aimed at developing waste-based plastics, as well as concepts which would enable manufacturers to use a higher proportion of recycled content in their plastic packaging. Read more here. We will be keeping an eye on developments relating to chemical regulations once the UK has left the EU. This report from the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee highlights some of the issues. As reported earlier this week, Michael Gove has made a commitment to “reduce the moral scandal of food waste”. Industry, including the FPA, is calling for a roll out of food waste collections across England without adding costs to local authorities as the key to addressing this. Read here
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